Duc Ba Cathedral
Over the past 100 years and over 3 centuries, Duc Ba Cathedral in Saigon is still splendid, magnificent and majestic. This is considered as a masterpiece of urban architecture in Saigon. The church has the largest scale in Vietnam. Along with a number of neighboring buildings in District 1 such as Central Post Office, City Theater, …; Duc Ba Cathedral is a symbol project of Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City.
The current building was designed in the 1870’s by French architect J.Bourad. The previous church, on another site, had been severely damaged by termites and the French Colonists at the time obviously wanted the replacement to be something special. All materials were sourced from France including the bright red bricks from Marseille that still retain their vibrant colour today.
The first stone was laid in 1877 and it took almost three years to build. The blessing and completion ceremony was held on Easter Sunday in April, 1880. Because the funds for construction were from the French, the church was originally named State Cathedral
The striking bell towers that soar to 58 meters weren’t added until 1895. They house 6 bronze bells weigh a hefty 29 metric tonnes. The crosses that top them rise a further 3.5m and weigh around 600kg. They were the highest structures in downtown Saigon at the time. Lucky the church foundations were actually designed to hold over 10 times the weight of the structure. When completed, the cathedral was thought to be the most beautiful in all the French Colonies.