Saigon and Jakarta Cathedrals


Whenever I travel overseas and got a chance to visit a church, I always included it in my itinerary and took pictures of  the facade and sometimes of the interiors. Two of the cities I have visited have a very interesting Cathedrals though similar concept of design but totally two different kind of architecture.

In Saigon, the Notre Dame Basilica is one famous landmark you will hardly missed as a tourist. It is located at the Paris Square in downtown area. A magnificent twin-towered neo-romanesque cathedral built in the 1880s by the French during their colonial occupation of Saigon. It has two bell towers reaching a height of over 58 meters with  bronze bells. The construction materials including the red bricks used for the exterior walls were all brought in from France. The facade has three arches that gives an indication of the cathedral's internal structure.The interior decoration is relatively simple yet tranquil.

There is a small garden in front of the Cathedral where the Peaceful Notre Dame statue stands in the middle of the garden which add grandeur to the cathedral.
The frontage has a lean appearance
But looking at the rear it looks massive
Despite of its location, being all sides is a busy thoroughfare, inside is cool and tranquil 
The statue at one occasion observed to shed tears that caused thousands of people to flock to the statue for days
One of the chapels inside the Cathedral. The walls adorned with plaques containing names which I believe tombstones.
There were 5 couples dressed in their wedding attire doing on site photo shoot the time I was there. I learned that the church is a favorite backdrop for wedding photo shoots

In Jakarta, there is the Jakarta Cathedral with an official name The Church of Our Lady of Assumption. In a non Christian city it is surprising to find out that there is one age old Cathedral in the 1900 right at the heart of the city. And surprising more is that it is just in front of a huge Moslem mosque! 

The Cathedral is of neo-gothic style of Dutch colonial architecture. The structure is also flunked by two towers topped by a cast iron spheres. There is also a statue of the Virgin Mary just like in Saigon, but here it is mounted above the main entrance door. The entrance door has a latin inscription.

The simplicity of the facade is compensated by the grandeur of its interiors. The interior of the cathedral is flanked by galleries which is converted into a museum, and the ceiling is made of teakwood which I find it original and beautiful.

I find it difficult to take picture of the Cathedral. From the outside it has a constraint frontage that taking the entire building is not possible. There is mass when I was there being a sunday so taking pictures is to be discreet.
The cast iron spheres that topped the two towers make the Cathedral unique
The intricately arched main entrance with the statue of the Virgin Mary
The grandeur of the interior is captivating, the morning sunlight coming through the stained glass windows  enhances the beauty of the interiors.