Notre Dame Cathedral is a cathedral of the archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City, one of the unique architectural works of Saigon, a destination for domestic and foreign travellers, also one of the characteristics of Vietnam tourism.
The first church was built on No. 5 Street (now Ngo Duc Ke Street) but due to its small size, on March 28, 1863, Lefebvre placed the first stone of the church near the Charner Sutra. This church was built by wood in 1865, and originally called the Saigon Church. The wooden church was severely damaged by termites, ceremonies were held in the reception room of the old Governor’s Palace, and later converted into Lasid Taberd School, until the big church was built.
In August 1876, the architectural design of J. Bourard with Roman style modifications mixed Gothic style was chosen. Along with the process of choosing current location, Admiral Duperré offered to bid for the construction of the church, and the architect himself won the bid and directly supervised the building. All materials from cement, steel to screws are from France. Especially, the exterior of the building is made of tiles made in Marseille (France), bare, not plastered, not dusty moss that is still fresh pink color.
Until the third church, the church was named “Notre Dame Cathedral” from the event at February 1959. At that time, the Société d’Entreprises incorporated the statue of Our Lady on the pedestal that had been vacant since 1945 before the church. Father Joseph Pham Van Thien wrote the prayers “May the Lady for Vietnam be at peace” and read in front of the guests that day. In the following day, Cardinal Aganania from Rome through Saigon to preside over the closing ceremony of the National Marian Congress and bless the sermon. On December 5, 1959, the Holy See permitted the “anointing” ceremony of the Saigon Cathedral into the basilique. From there, the official name of the cathedral is the Basilica of Our Lady of Saigon. In 1960, the Holy See established the Vietnamese clergy with three archbishops in Hanoi, Hue and Saigon. The church became the main cathedral of the archbishop of Saigon to this day.