The architecture of Ho Chi Minh City is a splendid mix of Vietnam’s historical heritage, from French colonial villas to modern steel and glass monuments.
The top architectural sights for tourists date back to the time when Saigon, the “Pearl of Indochina” was the capital of French Indochina. More has been added to the cultural heritage since then and we see interesting times ahead in terms of modern architecture.
Based on the Hotel de Ville in Paris (Paris City Hall), Saigon’s City Hall was finished in 1908. It proudly sits at the beginning of Nguyen Hue street, showing off a beautiful building style. Nowadays it harbors the main office of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee and is closed to the public.
The Central Post Office is a popular tourist spot and THE place in HCMC to send postcards from. And of course a famous monument among travelers for its beautiful paintings and architecture, finished 1891 by Gustave Eiffel, a splendid French engineer who also built the Eiffel Tower.
The Reunification Palace is an important historical landmark and a popular tourist attraction, because the day the building’s main gate was broken in 1975 marks the end of the American War. The palace was designed by Ngo Viet Thu for South Vietnam's former President.
The Bitexco Financial Tower is shaped like a lotus bud, a meaningful flower to the Vietnamese. The skyscraper, which is with its 68 floors the tallest building of Vietnam at the moment, is a prominent landmark that stands for the rapidly developing economy of Ho Chi Minh City and shapes today’s skyline.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is located right across the Saigon Central Post Office and is one of the architectural marvels of the past. It was built in 1877 and all the building materials were imported from France.
The Saigon Opera House is also a famous landmark and popular sight for tourists in Ho Chi Minh City. It was built in 1897 by the French architect Eugene Ferret and is open to visitors during events.
The architecture in Ho Chi Minh City evolved from the colonial time, over the period of South Vietnam and the reunification until today. More skyscrapers and other interesting, modern monuments are in the planning and in the making, so we witness the development of an interesting skyline. Unfortunately, with the creation of new things, many historic buildings get destroyed. Often in a sneaky way behind the backs of the residents, sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes sheer greed.
We hope the Government will preserve the country’s monuments heritage as they constitute one of the main attractions for tourists traveling to Vietnam.
If you are looking for more ideas for things to see in Saigon, you can check our following pages: