Saigon, formerly known as the Pearl of the Far East, nevertheless retains some of its former beauty, as seen by the numerous tree-lined boulevards, notably in District 1. Here are some little-known truths about these stunning memories of the past, even though Saigonese may frequently drive past them. Scrolling down to explore fun facts about Saigon’s buildings.
1/ Notre Dame Cathedral
Six bronze bells from France, made in 1879, are housed in the two bell towers. The combined 28.85 tonne bells of Saigon are claimed to have been audible from a distance of 10 kilometers during its more peaceful times.
After a 1964 monument to US President John F Kennedy that stood next to the Virgin Mary statue, the area in front of the Cathedral—now named as Cong xa Paris, or Paris commune square—was once known as “Kennedy Square.”
2/ Central Post Office
The Post Office contains a theme of human scientific and technological development, if you look attentively. Famous people’s names are inscribed on plaques on the façade, including Michael Faraday, Benjamin Franklin, and Samuel Morse.
The city’s coat of arms, which is emblazoned with Paulatim crescam, “Developing little by little,” is located behind the enormous photo of Ho Chi Minh on the back wall. In 1975, it was concealed.
Another information is that inside the Post Office, there is an octogenarian serving as a public assistance for helping with writing letters, translating files, etc.
3/ Reunification Palace
The French Norodom Palace, which was completed in 1873, once stood where the Unification Palace is now. It was once the residence of the Governor of Cochinchina and the French High Commissioner (after World War II), and it later served as the first South Vietnamese President Diem’s home before being demolished in 1962.
When seen from above, the existing structure is shaped like the Chinese character for luck, “ji,” which is displayed on the building.
4/ Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Head Office
The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee’s main office has a 66-meter baroque exterior that is loosely modeled by the Hotel de ville in Paris and is embellished with Corinthian columns, sculpted figures, and emblems.
After the first moon landing in 1969, a futuristic “Monument to the remembrance of the conquest of space” was built on the square directly in front of the building; however, it was taken down after 1975.
5/ The Saigon Opera House
The Ho Chi Minh City Municipal Theater (opened in 1900) was modeled after the Petit Palais in Paris, but due to the intense heat, it could only be used from October through January.
Its construction cost over 2.5 million Francs, and during its first season, it featured elaborate shows staged by theater groups from Paris or Marseille.
There are some fun facts about Saigon’s historical buildings. If you want to visit these attractions, contact us and we will customize your dream itinerary in Vietnam. For hiring private vehicle during traveling, please contact us here.
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