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Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral Renovation Project to Extend to 2023

Saigoneers will have to say goodbye to Notre Dame Cathedral for three more years.

Recently, Saigon authorities held a meeting with the Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese to review the progress of the Notre Dame Cathedral’s ongoing renovation project, according to VnExpress. Father Ho Van Xuan, a representative of the archdiocese, told HCMC Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong that construction might need three more years to complete, as the extent of the damage to the church is worse than originally thought.

Xuan shared that, because the iconic building holds such importance for the city’s cultural, historical and tourism values, restoring it “must be done very carefully.” This includes assessing damage to some 50,000 tiles on the roof and replacing them accordingly, a challenging task as all of the original materials were imported from France, the news source shares.

Parts of the famed cathedral, especially its roof, have been deteriorating in recent decades, so plans for a major revamp project were proposed as early as 2016. In July, 2017, the city officially sectioned off the structure for renovation, which was estimated to last for three years, until 2020. In the meantime, religious services have been conducted as usual, though tourist activities are suspended.

Now, with Xuan’s request, Saigoneers and tourists won’t be able to see the building in its full glory until 2023. He also recommended that walls be built around the site to keep out vandals. Currently, many bricks on the outside of the cathedral have been defaced by white graffiti and even urine. These blemishes will be painted over during the project.

[Photo via Viet Bao]

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