A basilica is the special honor title given to certain churches or sanctuaries in Rome or around the world, in terms of its antiquity, historical importance, and spiritual significance. Among nearly 6,000 churches across Vietnam, there are only 4 churches that are recognized as basilicas. There are 4 churches located in Ho Chi Minh City, Quang Tri, Nam Dinh, and Ha Nam including Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon, La Vang church, Phu Nhai church and Ke So church. Duc Ba Cathedral, known as Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon is one of them.
History of Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon
As one of the outstanding religious architectures in the center of Saigon but not many people know clearly about the history of Notre Dame Cathedral. According to the introduction of Notre Dame Cathedral, this construction was started in 1877, completed in 1880, designed and supervised by architect J. Bourad.
On 11th, April 1880, the dedication and inauguration ceremony of the church in District 1 was organized by the late Colombet in the presence of the Governor of Cochinchina, Le Myre de Villers. Because the funds for construction were from the French with the total amount at that time amounted to 2,500,000 francs, at first this cathedral was named the State Church which means being built and managed by the French State.
After, the cathedral was renamed Notre Dame Cathedral. The official name is Immaculate Conception Cathedral Basilica. The cathedral was conferred basilica in 1962.
Some features of Duc Ba Cathedral
After more than a century of construction, Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral is still a destination chosen by many tourists when coming to Ho Chi Minh City. This unique architectural work owns many bright spots to attract visitors such as:
The main cathedral
Inside Notre Dame Cathedral Saigon is a specially designed cathedral with the ability to withstand 10 times the entire architecture of the building. The interior of the church is designed with 1 main heart, 2 side rooms, 2 chapels. The whole cathedral has a length of 93m, the widest up to 35m and the dome height is 21m. With this area, Notre Dame Cathedral inside the cathedral can accommodate up to 1,200 people.
Duc Ba Cathedral’s Bell Tower
The Bell Tower is likened to the soul of Duc Ba Cathedral. At first, the building only had 2 bell towers 36.6m high, without a roof. But in 1895, the cathedral built two more spires to cover the steeple with a height of 21m. Thus, the total design of the bell tower is 57m high. After that, the work hung 6 more bells including 6 music notes, hung on 2 bell towers. Each bell has a delicate pattern on the face.
The altar areas
The altars here are delicately carved with monolithic marble materials. 56 multi-colored glass windows are stitched together to form an impressive image. All the lines, edges and patterns of the altar area are in Roman and Gothic style, both dignified and elegant.