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Notre Dame Cathedral

 Notre-Dame, with official name the Notre-Dame basilica-cathedral of Saigon, is the largest church and the most particular in Ho Chi Minh City with two 60 meters high bell-towers, located at the city center (No 1 Paris Commune square, 1st district). It is one of the particular religious monuments which attract visitors the best in city.

The external wall of the cathedral was built with bricks from Marseilles, although they are not coated, these bricks still preserve their bright red color. The church on the whole has 56 squares of stained glasses manufactured by Lorin from Chartres province (France). The underpinning is drawn up particularly to support ten times more of the church's weight. And it is special that the cathedral does not have any fence like the other churches in Saigon - Gia Dinh formerly and now. 

All above the principal door, it is "the floor" with one of two oldest organs in Vietnam. This organ is manufactured by the foreign experts, particularly for this cathedral so its volume is, neither too low nor high, suitable with this church. At the beginning, two bell-towers are of 36,6 meters and do not have a roof but a narrow staircase of 40 cm. There are on the whole six large bells of six tons (sol, la, si, do, ré, mi) and of 28,85 tons heavy, hung in these two bell-towers. These bells were manufactured in France and imported in Saigon in 1879. Four bells (sol, si, ré, mi) are hung in the right bell-tower; two others (la, do) in the left one. The bells' surface appears the very delicate ornaments. The three largest bells are the si of 3.150 kg, the ré of 2.194 kg and especially the sol, one of the largest bells of the world, of 8.785 kg, whose the mouth of 2.25 meters in diameter, 3.5 meters high (including the ear). This bell resounds only once a year at the Christmas time.

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In front of the cathedral, it is a park with four roads which form a cross. In the center of the park, there is the statue of the Virgin of Peace (or the Queen of Peace). The statue was carved by G. Ciocchetti in 1959. The sculptor's name was registered on the left side of the dress. The 4.6 meters high statue, of 5.8 meters heavy in white marble of Italy was carved for contemplation by far and was thus not polished. It remains thus still everywhere on the body and even on the face of the statue the rough sculptures. The statue of Mother is upright with the hands holding the terrestrial sphere on which a cross is drawn up; the meditative eyes of Mother fix on the sky even if to pray for Vietnam and the world. Her foot presses on a snake's head (whose currently the superior jaw was already broken). On the stone pedestal, on the front face statue, they fix a bronze table with the Latin sentence: REGINA PACIS - ORA PRONOBIS - XVII. II. MCMLIX (Queen of Peace - Pray for us - 17/02/1959). Between the pedestal and the feet of Mother, they bore a hole to install a silver box which contains prayers for the peace of Vietnam and the world. These prayers are written on the sheets of gold, money, tin, aluminum, paper, bronze and leather sent from several regions of Vietnam.
 
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