Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

Christianity may not be the dominant religion in Vietnam yet this stunning cathedral is considered by many to be Ho Chi Minh City’s most iconic landmark.

See the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica’s majestic statue of the Virgin Mary and imposing bell towers and then step inside to discover a light and peaceful space far removed from the bustling streets outside. Take a tour to find out more about the building’s history and be sure to explore the lush gardens around the cathedral.

The Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica is visible from many places in Ho Chi Minh City but it’s from very close that you can fully appreciate its beauty. Step inside the gardens that surround the cathedral. The first thing you will see is a large statue of the Virgin Mary in prayer. The statue was brought to Saigon from Rome in 1959. Local legend says that in 2005 tears were seen falling from the eyes of the statue.

Note how her figure is perfectly framed by the twin spires of the cathedral that reach up 197 feet (60 meters). Although the rest of the building was completed in 1880, these were not added until 15 years later.

Admire the huge rose window dominating the main façade between the towers. The original stained glass was destroyed during the war and has been replaced with transparent glass.

Make your way through the main entrance into the spacious vault. Inside, notice that the walls are decorated with tablets depicting important biblical scenes. Other than this, the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica is largely plain inside with clear windows and white walls giving the space a peaceful atmosphere. Spend even a few minutes here and you will be sure to forget the hectic streets nearby.

Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica is located in the area of government buildings in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Visit in the mornings throughout the week. For greater insight, arrange to take a tour of the cathedral with English-speaking staff.