Saigon in old hand-colored pictures

VietNamNet Bridge – Saigon’s iconic buildings appear nicely in hand-colored postcards issued during the French colonial period in Vietnam.1304454-sai-gon-doc-dao-qua-anh-to-mau-thoi-phap

Eden shopping mall, located at the corner of Dong Khoi – Le Loi, was the commercial center of old Saigon. In addition to luxury shops, Eden had a modern cinema. The Givral café there was the favourite venue of foreign correspondents. Eden has now been replaced by the Union Square building.

1304454-sai-gon-doc-dao-qua-anh-to-mau-thoi-phap-806

In 1868, French Governor in South Vietnam, La Grandière, placed the first stone on the 12-hectare area to mark the groundbreaking of the construction of the Indochina Governor Palace, also called Norodom Palace. After the Geneva Treaty was signed, the area was handed over to Ngo Dinh Diem, who changed its named to Doc Lap (Independence) Palace. The palace was renamed Thong Nhat (Reunification) Hall after 1975.

1304454-sai-gon-doc-dao-qua-anh-to-mau-thoi-phap-1

Hotel Majestic was built in 1925 by a wealthy Chinese merchant, who also built many famous buildings such as the Fine Arts Museum, Tu Du Hospital, Binh Tay Market, among others. The hotel welcomed many important figures as French President Mitterrand, Japanese Prince Akishino, Prince of Denmark Henrik, British Prince Edward Andrew and others.

In 1860, Saigon Port was founded with the name Saigon Commercial Port. It was renamed Saigon Port in 1975.

In 1860, Saigon Port was founded with the name Saigon Commercial Port. It was renamed Saigon Port in 1975.

Ben Thanh market.

Ben Thanh market.

The Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange was known as Dien Hong Conference Hall before 1975.

The Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange was known as Dien Hong Conference Hall before 1975.

1304454-sai-gon-doc-dao-qua-anh-to-mau-thoi-phap-632

The Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City, also known as HCM City Opera House, is an example of French architecture in Vietnam. Built in 1897 by French architect Eugène Ferret as the Opėra de Saigon, the 800-seat building was used as the home of the Lower House assembly of the South Vietnam regime after 1956. It was not until 1975 that it was again used as a theatre, and restored in 1995.

1304454-sai-gon-doc-dao-qua-anh-to-mau-thoi-phap-892

Before 1975, Dong Khoi Street was named Tu Do (Freedom) with a length of 630 m, starting from the Notre Dame Cathedral and ending at Majestic Saigon Hotel on Ton Duc Thang Street (overlooking the Saigon River). The street is home to the HCM City Opera House, Continental Hotel, Grand Hotel Saigon, Caravelle Hotel and Vincom Center A.

Ben Nghe canal witnessed many fierce battles in the feudal age. In the French ruled period, the French authorities built a 30-meter high flagpole called Thu Ngu here.

Ben Nghe canal witnessed many fierce battles in the feudal age. In the French ruled period, the French authorities built a 30-meter high flagpole called Thu Ngu here.

1304454-sai-gon-doc-dao-qua-anh-to-mau-thoi-phap-712

Situated right in the heart of HCM City, the Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers, reaching a height of over 58 meters. The first church was built on Rue 5 (today’s Ngo Duc Ke Street). This had been a Vietnamese pagoda, which had been abandoned during the war. Bishop Lefevre decided to make this pagoda a church. The cathedral boasts its honored status as a Basilica consecrated tens of years ago. In 1960, the Vatican founded a Roman Catholic diocese in Vietnam and assigned archbishops to Hanoi, Hue and Saigon. Notre-Dame cathedral was titled Saigon Chief Cathedral. Yet, in 1962, the Vatican anointed the Saigon Chief Cathedral, and conferred it basilique in honor of the tri-centenary of the Bishopric of Saigon. Since then, this cathedral has been called Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica, which has enhanced its value. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics as well as international tourists pay a visit.

1304454-sai-gon-doc-dao-qua-anh-to-mau-thoi-phap-178

The French naval barracks. After the French withdrew from Vietnam in 1954, it became the location of the Brigade protecting the Independence Palace. Today, the buildings on the left are the University of Pharmacy, on the right side are the University of Arts and the HCM City Television Station.

1304454-sai-gon-doc-dao-qua-anh-to-mau-thoi-phap-348

In 1864 the French admiral De La Grandière signed the decision to build the Saigon Botanic Garden. The Garden was gradually widened to 33 hectares in 1927. After more than 130 years of existence, it becomes a big zoo with 590 animals of 125 species, 1,800 trees of 260 species, 23 species of orchids, 33 species of cacti, and 34 kinds of bonsai. Inside the zoo are two famous works: the Hung Kings Temple and the Vietnam History Museum.

1304454-sai-gon-doc-dao-qua-anh-to-mau-thoi-phap-911

In 1927 the French built the first museum of Saigon with the name Blanchard de la Brosse. In 1945 the museum was renamed Gia Dinh Museum, and in 1956 the National Museum of Vietnam. After 1975, it was called the Vietnam History Museum – Ho Chi Minh City.

1304454-sai-gon-doc-dao-qua-anh-to-mau-thoi-phap-655

In 1832, King Minh Mang established the district of Ngai An in the province of Bien Hoa. It became Thu Duc district in Gia Dinh province in 1899. In 1976, Saigon was officially renamed from Saigon – Gia Dinh to Ho Chi Minh City. Thu Duc district is now part of the city.

VNN/Zing

A Fertile Imagination

By: Dao One of Vietnam's best known sculptors, 77-year-old Le Cong Thanh creates striking images … [Read More...]

A turning point for Vietnam’s contemporary sculpture

By Nguyen Quan - Hochiminh City, 06/ 1998 This question is often raised: Where is Vietnamese … [Read More...]

Dinh Q. Le’s Woven Imagery Connects Culture — A Review

Posted on Jul 9, 2012diaCRITICS is excited to reprint this review of Dinh Q. Lê's show at Shoshana … [Read More...]

Bát Tràng Pottery Village

By: Hal Medrano One nice thing about living in Hanoi is that when you need to buy dishes for a … [Read More...]

Copyright protection, forever a problem

Art copyright infringement is always a burning issue in Vietnam. The copying of famous paintings and … [Read More...]

More Articles to read on

Speak Your Mind

*