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The City

folders for the cityThere is no better microcosm of Vietnam over the centuries than the city once called Saigon. To many Americans, Saigon is encapsulated in celluloid images on the silver screen: the streets of Saigon teeming with American G.I.s in their army jeeps, neon signs, a thriving black market and bar girls eager for companionship. Those images only portray the American perspective, and a sliver of time in the long history of this country.

Long a Mekong Delta backwater, Saigon, this "Pearl of the Orient" was established as a major metropolis by French colonialists, flourished during the war against the Americans, was punished by the Communists after 1975, and has risen again to lead Vietnam into a free market future.

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colonial saigon building

Colonial Saigon

As a great city is built on the banks of the Saigon River, resentment of colonialism grows in the heart of French Indochina.

The War Years

Saigon prospers (and festers) during the wars against foreign occupation fought first against the French and then the American.

aerial photo, the war years
statue of ho chi minh
A statue of Vietnam's revered leader, Ho Chi Minh, stands in front of the city's town hall.





After Liberation

Saigon is renamed Ho Chi Minh City and plunges into a post-war slump as thousands are marched off to reeducation camps and private business is prohibited.

Ho Chi Minh City Today

Times have changed, and the city once known as Saigon is back in action. A visitorís guide, complete with walking tour of all of the key sites featured in Vietnam Passage, details the best of this remarkable city.

notre dame cathedral
Through colonialsm, the war and now today, Notre Dame Cathedral has dominated the town square.

Colonial Saigon | The War Years | After Liberation | Ho Chi Minh City Today