With a strong Gothic, Roman and Baroque style plus obvious French roots, the 136 year old Tan Dinh Cathedral along Hai Ba Trung in District 3 in Saigon glows - from the distance and close up - with a distinctive and elegant presence and stature. I was fascinated with the gabled roofs, its tower standing at 52.6 meters, a bronze cross, sizable gardens, fish scaled roof tiles, strong porticoes and its obvious pink outer walls. There is a school on its grounds and also a statue of Christ with out stretched arms.
Inside the Cathedral, there are shrines to Saint Therese of Lisieux, Saint Martin de Porres and also to Catholic martyrs of Vietnamese background. The layout of pews, richly stained windows, arched columns and some austere non-trappings are all evocative of Catholicism and yet evoke another time, another place.
Tan Dinh is near by the Pasteur Institute, the Tan Dinh Markets and the Women's Museum. The nearby markets offer a variety of fascinating produce, live, dried and fresh. Binh Tay and Ben Tanh are examples of other popular markets in Saigon, referred to as cho. The picture below shows a view of Hai Ba Trung in Saigon, standing from the front of the Cathedral.