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34 Of The Oldest Known Photos Of Saigon

Hanoi architect, Đoàn Bắc, and his father, Đoàn Thịnh, are known for their collections of old Vietnam photos. Among them is a set taken in Saigon, some of which date back to 1860 (the newest are from 1900), making them some of the oldest known pictures of the city.

The collection was built around 2 main sources – Bắc‘s professor, Vũ Thế Khôi and the family of Louis Sadoul, a French military doctor who served in Saigon at the turn of the 20th century. 

Vũ Thế Khôi, the son of Vietnam’s first Minister of Education, was given a set of old photos of the country on a visit to archives in France. He then passed the collection on to Đoàn Bắc who showed great passion for nostalgic photos of Vietnam.

Đoàn Bắc himself was fortunate to make the acquaintance of Pierre and Claude Sadoul, the former of which is the grandson of Louis Sadoul, a French military doctor who served in Vietnam from 1889 to 1890 and again in 1903. The Sadouls gifted Đoàn Bắc the set of Saigon photos taken by Louis.

The collection is divided into 4 parts: urban development, the Saigon River, Saigon’s people and its architecture.

The first 2 parts in particular capture the city’s first steps towards becoming one of SE Asia’s premier cities.