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Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.
00:34 • Cathedral of Our Lady of Saigon
01:33 • central post office
03:16 • Binh Tay market
Although it was renamed Ho Chi Minh City nearly 50 years ago in 1975, the name Saigon is still widely used for this city, both in Vietnam and around the world.
Ho Chi Minh City is not the political capital of Vietnam, this role having been attributed to Hanoi at the end of the war, but it is the largest city in the country and also its economic capital. The city has more than 8,000,000 inhabitants. The city is crossed by an eponymous river (the Saigon River).
Originally, the city was only a Khmer fishing village and it was the emperors of the Nguyen dynasty of Hue who made it a settlement city. The Nguyens ruled their empire from 1802 to 1945 and were Vietnam's last imperial dynasty.
The French colonizers chose Saigon to become the capital of Cochinchina and later of French Indochina.
The Indochina War which opposed the Vietnamese separatists to France ended with the partition of the country into two distinct entities located on either side of the 17th parallel. Saigon was designated the capital of the Republic of Viet Nam in 1954.
Saigon was also the seat of the American military command during the Vietnam War which opposed the two separate Vietnams. While the North was supported by the communist regimes, led by China, the South served as a military base for American troops supported by the South Vietnamese army.
The massive presence of American troops has greatly contributed to the massive development of the port of Saigon and stimulated its economic activity. The capture of the city in 1975 by troops from the North (episode known as the Fall of Saigon) marked the end of two decades of a murderous war, and North Vietnamese officials wanted to pay tribute to their leader historic, who died 5 years earlier, renaming the city, a symbol of American power in the region, Ho Chi Minh City.
The first inhabitants of this city were Khmer fishermen, and called it Prey Nokor (which means "the city of the forest"). This name is still used by Cambodians and Khmer minorities residing in the nearby Mekong Delta.
The current district of the huge Binh Tay market is called Cholon and is the origin of the name Saigon.
History of Ho Chi Minh City
The region was occupied by Khmer populations, and the first significant presence of Vietnamese dates from the beginning of the 17th century, with the establishment of a military base of the Nguyen dynasty around 1679.
The name of Saigon appears almost a century later, in 1776, in a book by the philosopher Le Quy Don.
The city was taken in 1859 by a Franco-Spanish fleet, and Emperor Tu Duc's attempts to recapture the city were unsuccessful. The emperor was obliged to cede territories to the French invader and Saigon became the capital of this new colony.
The French have completely redesigned the urbanization of the city and the new districts were built on the Western model inspired by Roman geometric cities.
Many buildings date from this period, such as the Notre-Dame de Saigon Cathedral, the train station, the central post office and a theater.
It is this urbanization that has given the current appearance to this city of more Western than Far Eastern inspiration...
Ho Chi Minh City post office
Built between 1886 and 1891, it is one of the most emblematic examples of French colonial architecture in Indochina and is an essential tourist spot in the city.
The history of Ho Chi Minh City's post office is closely linked to the French colonial period in Vietnam, which lasted from the second half of the 19th century until the middle of the 20th century. When the French began to administer and develop Indochina, they introduced new technologies, such as railways, telecommunications and postal services. The Saigon post was built to meet the growing demand for communication and trade between the French colonies and the metropolis.
The architecture of the building was designed by Gustave Eiffel, the French engineer famous for designing the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York. The architectural style is a mix of European and Asian influences, with a metal structure, elegant arches, decorative cornices and colorful tiles. The building has a long symmetrical facade with a clock in the center and two side wings.
Inside the post office, there is a large open space with high ceilings and metal columns. The walls are adorned with ceramic tiles and floral designs, and historical maps of Vietnam and the region are on display. The post office is still in operation and offers postal services, as well as souvenir shops for tourists.
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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of vietnamese traditional music in "Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) • Vietnam", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.
What's the weather like in Ho Chi Minh City?
about the place, Ho Chi Minh Ville:
Probably better known by its former name of Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is the economic capital of Vietnam. It is also the largest city in the country, although it was still only a Khmer fishing village during the heyday of Hue, the imperial capital. The climate of Saigon being more suitable for Westerners, it is this city which was chosen by the French colonizers to be the capital of their possessions in the Indochinese peninsula.
Spoken comments in the film:
A huge metropolis of more than 8,000,000 inhabitants, Ho Chi Minh City is a city whose current urbanization is inherited from the French colonial period, leaving relatively little room for remarkable monuments typical of the region, unlike many other Vietnamese cities.
The construction of Cathedral of Our Lady of Saigon lasted from 1877 to 1880. Of Romanesque inspiration, mixed with the Gothic style, the cathedral is based on the model of Notre Dame de Paris, but much smaller.
This cathedral was built to offer a place of worship to the Christians of the region, but also and above all to show the people the strength of French civilization.
Another remarkable building from the colonial era, the central post office was built between 1886 and 1891. This remarkable construction has a framework designed by Gustave Eiffel.
Another must-see in Ho Chi Minh City is the huge Binh Tay indoor market. Like all markets in Southeast Asia, there are large quantities of fresh produce, but also loose clothing, and, more surprising for tourists, crudely imitated counterfeit money, paper costumes and models of houses made of paper or cardboard. All these unusual things are intended to be burned as an offering, thus allowing the souls of the dead to improve their daily lives in the afterlife. This type of products are not only found in this market, they are commonplace in Vietnam.