City Hall, or Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee is located on an area of 15 hectares, at 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia or 106 Nguyen Du, District 1, limited by four main streets: Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Nguyen Du Street, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, and Huyen Tran Cong Chua Street. It is also known as Xa Tay Palace, Doc Ly Palace, or the working office of City Council under the French colonial. Later it was renamed into City Hall. Then the building was known as Saigon City Hall in 1954 – 1975. From 30/04/1975 until now it has been the headquarter of Ho Chi Minh People’s Committee. Ho Chi Minh People’s Committee today is considered as one of the most beautiful French-inspired architectural buildings and attractions in Ho Chi Minh City.
The construction of the building was concerned from 1871 and years thereafter by French colonial authorities. Yet the project only officially started putting into construction in 1898 under the blueprint of Gardès architect. Building decoration initially followed Ruffier artist’s drawing; however, it then was assigned to the Bonnet – another talent artist. The building was officially put into operation in 1909, once being known as the “Hotel de Ville de Saigon”. It is another French influenced building which has been modeled on City Hall in Paris.
Overall architecture of the building is relatively simple. The top of the building is the famous bell tower which is placed on a pyramid like pedestal. The presence of bell towers is adapted from Renaissance architecture which is common to most European town halls. Two sides retain two symmetrical roofs. Facade of buildings is 80 meters wide; meanwhile reception hall can accommodate 800 people. The structure is influenced by Neo-Baroque style in Emperor Napoleon III with Mausart roof, bull’s eye decoration, and corolla. Beside vignettes, the decoration also features thanks to 3 embossing statues.
They are images of a woman and a child taming menageries (in the middle) and two other women with their swords in hand (on the left and right). Especially, front of the building is a flower garden where situates the statue of Ho Chi Minh with children implemented by sculptor Diep Minh Chau. The building was listed in ancient and large architectural works at that time in Saigon. Currently, it is worth the must-see in Ho Chi Minh City travel.
As one of the most appealing Ho Chi Minh City attractions, the project is evaluated as a success, a creation, a modern architecture based on classic French architecture. Ho Chi Minh City Hall is a monumental work in harmony with flowers and greenery, making the ideal convergence spot of Le Duan Boulevard axis as today. The building owns a floor area of 200 sqm. It is home to over 100 rooms with large halls, wide corridors, and majestic entrance. Its height is equivalent to 5-storey house with basement, rooftop, and Flag Tower.
Although strongly influenced by the architecture of Paris City Hall, facade of the building still evokes Vietnam traditional decor, which was studied in order to collect all the eastern light illuminating the corridor. Entrance into City Hall with a semicircular lake characterizes Vietnam traditional architecture. It is typical architectural works for the rare harmonious combination between modern and traditional architectures in the former Saigon. Though it is a working government building and not open for the public or tourists, the building itself is quite impressive. The outside is actually ornate and worth one of the most photographed buildings in Saigon.
Ho Chi Minh People’s Committee is one of the most beautiful buildings built by an ancient French architect in the city, especially at night under the sparkling lights. In particular, the ideal place to admire the building is the rooftop of Rex Hotel nearby. Here, tourists will have a chance to contemplate the best views of Ho Chi Minh City Hall under the flickering lights. The building deserves to be the highlight of Ho Chi Minh City tourism.