Saigon or Ho Chi Minh - City

 1/ Saigon is still called in Vietnamese, and was already the "Pearl of the Orient" and the Paris of Asia. "Founded under the Second Empire, Saigon was the capital of Cochin, one territory established French colony (the other two, Tonkin and Annam, as protectorates). Built on the site of an ancient Khmer city, Prey Nokor, it is a river port on the Saigon River 80km from the sea, in the center of a vast network of waterways and rich rice-growing region, but overcrowded. The name may come from the Chinese Saigon said, meaning wood, and gon, Vietnamese name kapok tree that grew in large numbers, it seems, around the city, but historians are not unanimous on this subject.

Saigon is changed in Ho Chi Minh City now (in French with hyphens, Vietnamese Ho Chi Minh), formerly Saigon until 1975, is the largest city in Việt Nam, before the capital Hanoi.

Ho Chi Minh City is divided into 19 districts and 5 districts covering an area of ​​2090 km2 and 7,400,100 inhabitants (2005). The boroughs intramural are numbered 1 to 12. Added to those of Tan Binh, Binh Thanh, Phu Nhuan, Thu Duc, Go Vap. Suburban districts Nha Be, Can Gio, Hoc Mon, Cu Chi, Binh Chanh.

Ho Chi Minh City is located on the shores of Dong Nai river. Located near the Mekong Delta, this city is the metropolis of the south. During colonization, it was the capital of French Indochina (Cochin). After the partition of the country after the end of the war in Indochina, Saigon became the capital of the Republic of Viet Nam (from 1954).

During the Vietnam war, Saigon was the seat of American command; his business was also boosted by the presence of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers and the port was bottled by the arrival of massive imports of equipment. Its capture by the Communists April 30, 1975 marked the end of the Vietnam war. The city was then débaptisée in favor of the historic name "leader" of the Vietnamese Communists, Ho Chi Minh. However, many Vietnamese still speak of Saigon, at least in informal situation. Officially, Saigon is only part (District 1) of Ho Chi Minh City. It is still, today, the economic heart of the country. 

The names of the city
Khmer, the first inhabitants of the place, the designated city under the name Prey Nokor (city forest). This name is still used for Cambodians as well as the Khmer Krom minority living in the Mekong Delta.

Upon arrival of the Vietnamese in their long march of the Red River Delta to the Mekong Delta over centuries to build the Vietnam , the city took the common name of Saigon, while the official name used to French colonization was Gia Định (嘉定vernacular writing in Vietnamese). The French, in turn, perpetuate the name Saigon, but with an Anglicized spelling (Saigon).

Finally, 2 July 1976, the Communist victors impose the current name, Ho Chi Minh City (Ho Chi Minh), already adopted by the first government in 1945 in the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, in homage to Ho Chi Minh.

2/ Climate

The monsoon begins in May and ends in early September is marked by torrential rains . It rains almost every day. The dry season starts in November and ends in April. March is often the hottest of the year.

Places and famous monuments

Saigon was originally a small Cambodian port, a fishing village called Prey Kor. Occupied by the Annamese in the seventeenth century, the site was then called Saigon, and walled in the eighteenth century, before being conquered by the French in 1859. Saigon will be known for years as the "Paris of the Far East": the city has many colonial monuments.

3/ Sites proposed to do and visit in Saigon:

*/ Downtown with the colonial district is mainly characteristic street Dong Khoi (formerly rue Catinat).

Docks with the statue of Tran Hung Dao

City Hall/ Theatre (Opera)/ Notre Dame Cathedral, red brick imported from Toulouse

The central position connçue by Gustave Eiffel/ Reunification Palace and square or garden

*/ Outside the colonial district:

Museum Nha Rong/ Ex- Embassy USA/ Museum of History/ War Museum/ Museum of the Revolution/ botanical garden and zoo/ Ky Hoa Park/ French colonial Architecture

Temples and Pagodas

Giac Lam Pagoda/ Giac Vien Pagoda/ Pagoda "Turtle" - Chua Ngoc Hoang Phuoc Hai Tu or/ Vinh Nghiem Pagoda/ Xa Loi Pagoda/ Temple of General Le Van Duyet/ Tran Hung Dao Temple/ Temple Phung Son/ Vat Chantarangsey


Ben Thanh Market/ Old Market (Cho Cu)/ Ex- market "thieves"/ contract furniture/ Market the dishes/ Books market

*/ Chinatown (CHO LON)

Binh Tay Market / Bird Market

Pagodas and temples or places of worship

Church of Tam Ca/ Thien Hau Temple/ Temple Nghia An Hoi Quan/ Ha Chuong Temple/ Temple of Nhat Tan/ Pagoda So Tam Hoi Quan/ Pagoda Puoc Hoi An/ Phung Son Pagoda You

Temple Khanh Van Vien and dock the Chinese arroyo.

4/ Some important historical sites:

*/ Municipal Theater Ho Chi Minh

Location: Ho Chi Minh Municipal Theatre is located on Dong Khoi Street , Ho Chi Minh City, between the Caravelle and Continental Hotels.

Features: With a rotating stage and a 800 - seat hall, the theater meets the required standards for various artistic forms such as singing, music, dancing and traditional and modern dramas.

Built at the beginning of 1897, in a French original architectural design by architect Eugene Ferret, who won a prize for theater designing in July 1895, the Municipal Theatre was restored and renewed to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founding of Saigon (1698-1998).

The architectural style and material base of the Municipal Theatre of ancient times reflected in its stone veranda, a pair of white stone statues of pretty girls at the door, the floors colored granite tiles, chandeliers, statues bronze face the stairs, the room the audience with its arch engraved with decorative designs and rows of statues on both sides of the theater. 

In the years of the Second World War, France has participated in many battles. In Vietnam, the revolutionary wave of high shaken the colonial regime. The municipal theater was closed and abandoned. During the French re-invasion of the South after 1945, the theater has been restored. When the French invaders withdrew from the South under the Geneva Agreement in 1956, the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem transformed the theater into the seat of the lower house, so the structure inside and outside the theater been changed considerably.

Regain power after the Great Victory spring of 1975, the city authorities allowed a temporary repair of the theater, return its function to a central theater. In 1995, a hundred years after the beginning of the original construction project, a restoration project was approved by the municipal People's Committee. Many experienced historians and architects were invited to participate in this project. The theater was renewed with new materials and equipped with state of the art appliances, sound systems and lights and fire and safety equipment. With a revolving stage and a 800 - seat hall , the theater meets the required standards for various artistic forms such as singing, music, dancing and traditional and modern dramas. This is a good place for artistic performances by domestic and foreign art ensembles and well - known artists, who visit Ho Chi Minh City.

*/ Palace Thong Nhat (Reunification)

It was 25 years ago, April 30, 1975, the tank No. 390 of the Liberation Army of South Vietnam plunged the Palace gate Doc Lap (Independence), seat of the former Saigon administration, a puppet of the Americans. The image of this historic event, which marked the liberation of South Vietnam and the reunification of the country, was broadcast worldwide.

Palace Thong Nhat renamed Palace (Reunification) became a historic landmark in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Ten years after the bombing of Da Nang opening their aggression against Vietnam, the French colonialists founded the French Indochina including North, Central, South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos they placed themselves under the protection of France.

They did build the palace in Saigon General Government of the Federation. Named Norodom Palace, the building occupied a plot of 12 hectares and overlooking the Nam Ky Khoi current street Nghia. It was built in three years (1868-1871) as the colonial architectural style by the French architect Hermite. 

After their defeat at Dien Bien Phu, the French colonialists had to sign the Geneva Treaty of 1954 and withdraw from Vietnam. But the Americans took the notes from South Vietnam Ngo Dinh Diem and hoisted to power. The latter founded the Republic of Vietnam and settled in Norodom Palace renamed Doc Lap Palace (Independence).

Bombed in 1962 by a breakaway faction of aircraft, the palace was Highly damaged. Ngo Dinh Diem the razed and a new building in its place.

Commenced on 1 July 1962, the work was interrupted for six months by the coup that ended the reign of Ngo Dinh Diem. Opened October 31, 1966 by the victors of the coup, Nguyen Van Thieu and Nguyen Cao Ky, the new palace is the work of Ngo Viet Thu. Holder of the Grand Prix de Rome, the architect is still known for its many buildings and restoration work in the country. He managed to combine modern architecture with the architectural style of the East in the design and layout of the palace.

Construction was entrusted to officers and soldiers of Engineers Saigon army. Lieutenant Colonel Phan Van Dien, engineer, ensured its direction.

The buildings were built on a basis of 4500 m² area. They included a ground floor, a basement and 4 floors, 95 rooms with a total area of ​​20,000 m².

The largest room with an area of ​​448 sqm, located on the first floor of the building was used for solemn meetings. An adjacent room was used for government meetings. Another was reserved for solemn receptions.

The second stage included facilities for the command of the army, offices, reception of visitors of the president and vice- president. The rest served as home to the family of the President of the Republic.

3rd which was used for entertainment of the family of President, included a library, a reception room of the wife of the president of the Republic, a living film and artistic performances and a hall for parties map.

The 4th floor was quiet and open to all winds. Ngo Viet Thu wanted to make it a place to relax for the President of the Republic and members of the government after their meetings, but Nguyen Van Thieu this floor reserved for dances.

The basement was an underground shelter of the Saigon government in case of war. It consisted of two galleries communicating with each other by narrow passages reinforced concrete.

The first gallery, fitted to a meter above the soil was surrounded by a layer of reinforced concrete with a thickness of 60 cm and coated steel plates of 5 mm thickness. She could withstand 500 kg bombs and included the Command Post, a radio room, an office and a restroom of the President of the Republic.

The second gallery, fitted to 3m below, was protected by a reinforced concrete cover of 1.6 m thick and 5 mm steel plates. She could withstand 2 tons of bombs. A staircase was the direct contact with the office of President of the Republic on the 2nd floor. A small gallery was reserved for the guard.

April 30/1975, the Liberation Army of South Vietnam entered Saigon, Ho Chi Minh terminating the Liberation of South Vietnam countryside. The tank # 390 sank the main door of the Palace of Independence. The colors of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam were hoisted on the 4th floor of the building.

In the solemn hall meetings, General Duong Van Minh enemy went without conditions.

In November 1975, the same room was the scene of the Conference of reunification. The building now renamed Thong Nhat Palace (Reunification).

Since 1976, it is a monument, a historical and cultural relic. Under the Cabinet of the Government, he served in government meetings and receptions of foreign guests senior Party, government, Ho Chi Minh City, conferences and exhibitions.

It is the subject of numerous visits by foreign tourists and school children of the country.

Since 1999, it has undergone major repairs. The architect Ngo Viet Thu and engineer Phan Van Dien were consulted for this work.



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