Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral to undergo extensive roof renovation

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral to undergo extensive roof renovation
The Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral. Photo by Vu Dung Pham/VnExpress Photo Contest

Ho Chi Minh City's municipal government has approved a proposal to restore the roof of the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, the Infonet news site reported on Friday.

The cathedral, located in District 1, is one of the most popular tourist sites in the city. Any restoration work to the building needs prior approval from the local government as it is a protected heritage site.

The restoration of the roof, 91m in length and 35m in width, will be carried out from 2017-2019 and will be financed by the Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese. 

In June last year, Father Ho Van Xuan, a representative of the Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese, said that a project to restore the cathedral was being considered as some parts of it had degraded due to the weather. The restoration work will be conducted carefully to "keep the original beauty" of the cathedral, said Xuan, who will act as head of the project’s management board.

The management board has already hired the Saigon Construction Quality Control JSC to assess the condition and decided that the top priority is to fix leaks in the roof.

There are around 50,000 tiles on the roof of the cathedral, and one of the most difficult aspects of the project will be to source the Marseilles tiles used in the original construction, according to Xuan.

The restoration project will be split into three phases: the roof, the interior and finally the two bell towers.

The walls of the cathedral, which have been defaced by vandals, will also be repainted.

The church will still hold weekend masses for parishioners during the restoration work, according to the archdiocese.

The Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral was built by French colonialists between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers with a height of 58 meters (190 feet).

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