Religious sites are destinations many choose when coming to Ho Chi Minh City to understand more about religions in Vietnam. Christianity came to Vietnam a few centuries later than Buddhism (started with Catholicism and later joined by Protestantism), but it still plays an important role in the religious practice of Vietnamese. As a major metropolitan, Ho Chi Minh City has many large churches that had been witness the change of this city for over 100 years. Here is our list of best churches in Ho Chi Minh City.
Catholicism is the second-largest and of the earliest religions to come into Vietnam. Most Catholic churches in Ho Chi Minh City are built in the second half of the 19th century. The architecture designs you often see are that of Roman, Gothic, and other styles from Medieval Europe. Many of them were built with the support of the French government at that time. And the churches that were built later has a Vietnamese architecture combined with a classic design.
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1 Cong Xa Paris, District 1
Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the earliest churches to be built in Vietnam. The church was designed by J. Bourard and finished in 1880. Its architecture is a combination of Roman and Gothic, and all construction materials are imported from French. Notre Dame Cathedral is now a most-visited religious site in Ho Chi Minh City, attracting not only worshipers but also visitors admiring its beauty.
1 Ton That Tung, District 1
Huyen Sy, a rich man in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) at the time whose family members are Catholics, donated his land and 1/7 of his money to build the church, and thus, people usually use his name to call the church to honor him. He passed away before the construction, and it was his child who continued his will and had the Huyen Sy Cathedral finished in 1905. The church is designed by priest Bouttier with Gothic architecture. Inside the church, there are tombs of Huyen Sy and his wife, Huynh Thi Tai.
6 Ton Duc Thang, District 1
The seminary was built in 1863 when Catholicism development faced many difficulties because of the Vietnam civil war, with the determination to build a place to spreading and strengthen the religion. The chapel construction was started 4 years after the seminary by priest Wibaux. Not many people in Ho Chi Minh City know about this old beautiful white chapel. It is definitely a must-visit for any interest in learning about the history of Catholicism in Vietnam.
289 Hai Ba Trung, District 3
Tan Dinh Church is most famous for its eye-catching pinkish color. It had been constructed from 1870-1876. Because the church was renovated many times, its architecture and design is a combination of Gothic, Roman, and Baroque style. Located in District 3, near the city center, the church is always crowded with worshipers and visitors, especially young people.
413 Le Van Sy, District 3
Vuon Xoai Church is one of the most modern churches in Ho Chi Minh City. In 1947, the church was built in a poor neighborhood as a place of worship for the people living there. Its architecture is a typical design of the Vietnamese temple (unlike most of the church built in the 19th century) with blue-tiled roof and "three-door" entrance. If you are interested in seeing every aspect of Vietnamese Catholics, Vuon Xoai Church will be an interesting destination.
38 Ky Dong, District 3
In 1963, Ky Dong Church was opened to the public. It is located in a small and quiet area of District 3. The design of the church is simple, a mixture of modern and traditional Roman style, a tall bell tower and a small chapel.
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120 Tran Binh Trong, District 5
In 1700, a church was built when a group of Catholics in Cho Quan was established. After several renovations, Cho Quan Church was finally finished in 1896 with Gothic architecture. On the church’s land (almost 17,000 square meters), there is a building for teaching the religion. As the oldest church in Ho Chi Minh City, it is still an important place of worship in District 5.
25 Hoc Lac, District 5
In 1902, Cha Tam Church, another church in Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown (Cho Lon) was finished. It was named after Cha Tam (priest Tam Assou) who was an important missionary in the Chinese community in Ho Chi Minh City. Its architecture is a combination of typical Gothic style and Chinese temple style. The most noticeable of this combination is the “three-door” entrance and a small shrine for the Virgin Mary statue in the middle of the church’s garden.
116A Hung Vuong, District 5
Jeanne d’Arc Church was constructed in 6 years, from 1922 to 1928, but it is usually called Nga Sau (6 streets) Church by locals because its location is near a roundabout of 6 streets. Even though its history is not as long as the other two churches in District 5, but it is still a worth-visit destination for any interest in learning Catholicism and old architectures in Ho Chi Minh City. The church is easily recognized by its Gothic architecture, yellow wall contrasting with the green rows of trees in the neighborhood.
149 Banh Van Tran, Tan Binh District
Chi Hoa Church was finished in 1890 with Roman architecture on the land that Huyen Sy donated. The church is located in a district far from the city center and may not be as significant as others churches at the time, but it still contributed to the Catholic missionary work as a branch of Chi Hoa Catholic community.
53/7 Quang Trung, Go Vap District
Hanh Thong Tay Church’s construction was initiated by Le Phat An, a son of Huyen Sy, from 1921-1924. Different from most of the other old churches in Vietnam, the church has Byzantine architecture. Its design is also believed to be inspired by Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy.
As Protestantism is relatively new to Vietnamese and the characteristic of the missionary work is different from that of Catholicism, there are not many big Protestant churches in Ho Chi Minh City. The places of worship are usually small, like a community house where many evangelistic organizations hold their meetings and teaching of the religion. You will recognize these worshiping place by the words “Tin Lanh” on the signs in front of their buildings. There are a lot of them in all districts in Ho Chi Minh City, from the central to outskirt districts.
Saigon Protestant Church - 155 Tran Hung Dao, District 1
Nguyen Tri Phuong Church - 314 Ngo Quyen, District 10
There are many beautiful churches around Ho Chi Minh City, reflecting the religious practice as well as the history, and lifestyle of people in this city over 100 years. Among them, Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most well-known, but you still have a variety of options to discover other churches in other districts as well.
Check out here for more places you should visit in Ho Chi Minh City.
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