A retro stroll in Saigon going back three centuries

By Huu Khoa   January 2, 2019 | 10:40 am GMT+7

An exhibition on Saigon’s Nguyen Hue walking street goes back to 1698, connecting the past with the present.

A retro stroll in Saigon going back three centuries

Students from Ho Chi Minh City Open University at the photo exhibition "320 years Saigon - Ho Chi Minh City - Where aspiration rises high" on Nguyen Hue Street. The exhibition, which opened December 28, 2018, will remain open until January 8, 2019.

More than 100 photographs document the growth of urban Saigon from the time of Nguyen Huu Canh who  founded Saigon in 1698. A high-ranking general in the second half of the 17th century, Nguyen Huu Canh's military expeditions into the Mekong Delta placed the region firmly under Vietnamese administrative control. The exhibition showcases many aspects of Saigonese life, including pottery making, traditional markets, ports, schools, urban movements, and other developments.

A retro stroll in Saigon going back three centuries - 1

An image of migrants exploring and settling on the soil of Saigon - Gia Dinh (a former province of South Vietnam that encircles Saigon) as street vendors.

A retro stroll in Saigon going back three centuries - 2

In the early days of reclaiming the land, people had to fight with wild beasts to survive. Tigers were a particular threat. Rudimentary defenses were built to protect against forays by wild animals.

A retro stroll in Saigon going back three centuries - 3

The Saigon Port was built in a deep-water area where large vessels of the day could be accommodated, facilitating international trade and travel, establishing links with cities and people from other countries.

A retro stroll in Saigon going back three centuries - 4

The Ben Thanh Market was inaugurated in 1914 near a train station. At the beginning, the place was called New Market to distinguish it from the Old Market located near the banks of Ben Nghe River, also in District 1. The market was and is still Saigon's main commercial center, where many large merchants converged. Ben Thanh was frequently visited by locals and residents from other provinces.

A retro stroll in Saigon going back three centuries - 5

A outdoor classroom, with folded hands signifying obedience and respect for elders.

A retro stroll in Saigon going back three centuries - 6

Saigon’s contact with Western European culture strengthened from the 19th century but traditional practices retained national identity. A Saigon woman serves tea to guests circa 1930.

A retro stroll in Saigon going back three centuries - 7

A "tuong" troupe in Saigon in 1930. Tuong is a Vietnamese operatic art form. Experts have pointed out that tuong, or hat boi in the South is representative of the country’s history of expansion. It celebrates the elements of Cham music in the south, adopting certain singing styles, particularly in expressing melancholy and related emotions. Later on, the art incorporated the high-pitched singing voices of the Hua community to express cheerful tones.

A retro stroll in Saigon going back three centuries - 8

After reunification in 1975, efforts were made to remove illiteracy across all age groups.

A retro stroll in Saigon going back three centuries - 9

A rice harvest by Cooperative No.3 in Thoi Tam Thon Commune, Hoc Mon District. Agriculture has been a mainstay for the Vietnamese economy for centuries.

 
 
go to top