This structure is located on the corner of Đinh Tiên Hoàng and Phan Đăng Lưu streets in Bình Thạnh District. As to what the purpose of this structure, I have no idea. It looked historic and decently maintained, so I stopped and snapped a picture.
Also, my Southern Vietnamese history is a bit rusty, but I seem to remember that all of Saigon and environs was once called Gia Định, then what is now downtown was named Saigon, with the outer areas/districts still known as Gia Định. Perhaps this structure is from that era. Any other insights/guesses into the origin of this interesting structure?
Hello Saigon! Glad to be back! I saw this article posted on Thanh Niên last week about an old fort up in Biên Hòa and simply had to get up there to see it. Biên Hòa is about an hour’s drive from downtown Saigon on a motorbike, along highways crammed with container trucks, dump trucks and buses. It’s a slightly harrowing and very dusty drive, but after chilling at a riverbank cafe upon arrival, we were off to the fort. The roof and upper story of the building are easily seen from the road. However, the best views were from inside a government courtyard (Ban Quản lý Di tích và Danh thắng Đồng Nai) and the guy at the gate would not grant us (two foreigners and one Vietnamese) access. “Talk to the director,” the guy said, curtly.
We snapped what photos we could from the street, then went down an alley and followed a muddy path where garbage collectors park their cyclos. There was a half destroyed building that looked like it was formerly a nhà trọ or something. The place was overgrown and we gingerly walked around in our flip-flops and found the side wall to the fort, characteristically made from colonial French era solid bricks, as opposed to the “air bricks” so popular in contemporary Vietnam. We wanted to see more, but just couldn’t access a good viewing location. I’d love to go back with a proper letter of introduction to take in more of this glorious old fort before it is gone for good.
The Military Court of Region 7 (Tòa án Quân sự Quân Khu 7) at 6 Lê Quý Đôn has had legal connections for some time. Since at least the early 1900’s the building served as the residence for the First President of the Court. Between the French residence and more recently information is a bit harder to come by. (information courtesy of the always knowledgeable Tim Doling).
Van Thanh Theatre at 360 Cach Mang Thang Tam has been around at least prior to 1975. It has operated as both a traditional theatre and movie theatre in the past and currently serves as the practice area for the Ballet & Symphony Orchestra of Ho Chi Minh City, but it appears it is not open to the general public.
I was strolling along Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street today and happened to glance down at a manhole cover and spotted this. It was quite surprising to see this steel manhole cover from 1876 with the words Saigon Artillery Branch in French. It is located on the corner of Nam Ky Khoi Nghia and Nguyen Du Streets. A historic area of town for sure, but this is quite a mystery. Anyone out there have any ideas/theories about this?
We’ve had an example of Compagnie des Eaux et Electricité’s (CEE) work before on the site, but this is the only example I know of in the city where they deviated from the standard design. This building is nearby the former burial grounds of the Bishop d’Adran (Lăng Cha Cả) whose house we profiled here.
I love that they incorporated some traditional design into a very utilitarian building and as I mentioned, I think it’s the only example of its kind in the city.
As a sidenote, does anyone know what the oldest CEE building in town is?