Priests put $6 mln price tag on renovation of Saigon cathedral

By Huu Cong   March 31, 2018 | 11:03 pm PT
Priests put $6 mln price tag on renovation of Saigon cathedral
Inside the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
The Catholic Archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City has only half the costs covered.

Restoration work on the 138-year-old Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the city’s most famous tourist attractions, will cost an estimated VND140 billion ($6.15 million), according to priests.

Local churches have only managed to raise half of the money needed for the work, which started in 2017 and is scheduled to take nearly two more years to complete.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City has also taken out loans to fix the historic site.

Father Ho Van Xuan from the archdiocese said that a lot of work is needed over the next two years, including the roof, windows and interior.

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral was built by French colonialists between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers that stand at a height of 58 meters (190 feet).

The cathedral stands in a tourist precinct that includes the historic Central Post Office in District 1, and is popular among foreign and local visitors, especially during holiday seasons. 

Its restoration was approved by the government in late 2016, and is expected to take until 2019.

Fences and scaffolding were erected in July last year, closing the church doors to tourists.

Work will focus on fixing the 91-meter (298 feet) long roof, which has been heavily damaged by the weather, with materials and technical help from France. 

Restoration of the famous building has prompted scam artists to con people out of money, using Xuan's name to raise funds, according to a statement issued by the church on March 27.

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