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Saigon Extends Notre-Dame Cathedral Renovation by 4 Years to 2027

Originally scheduled for completion in 2020 and then delayed once to 2023, repairs to the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon's roof, windows, flooring, exterior and core wooden structure are now expected to be finished in 2027.

COVID-19 resulted in a prolonged work stoppage and extended delays for imported materials, which prompted the updated timeline, according to Lâm Ngô Hoàng Anh, head of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture and Sport. He explained that until the revamp is finished, the garish scaffolding and unsightly barricades will remain, an onerous blight on the city center.

City officials first announced the refurbishment aspirations in 2015, though work only began in 2017. At the time, it was expected to cost US$4.4 million (VND100 billion), but the most recent predictions put the total bill at US$5.98 million (VND140 billion). 

In 2018, the original timeline for the project was pushed back from 2020 to 2023 because damage was found to be more extensive than originally thought. While church services have continued during the construction, it is closed to tourists. That, however, doesn't stop vandals from defacing it with graffiti.

As of 2020, half of the work on the roof was complete, although the majority of restoration tasks remain for the interior. Some scaffolding was removed from the sides of the building at the time, allowing viewers to witness the changes. 

Nothing about the iconic structure seems to be timely. Its first brick was laid in 1877 and it opened to the public in 1880, but its spires were not added until 1895. Until now, the church has not seen any significant reconstruction efforts. 

[Photo by Hải Long via Soha]

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