Located in downtown Sai Gon (present-day Ho Chi Minh City ), Sai Gon Post Office is a frequent destination for tourists during their visit to this city.
It was built between 1886 and 1891 and designed by architect Villedieu and his assistant Foulhoux in a unique Europe-Asia styled architecture with Cham motifs, modern baroque bas-relief and typical decorations of the architecture under the Third Republic of France.
The building is highlighted with a balanced composition of high aesthetical value. The details are equally divided apart and opposite to each other by a central axis. Its facade is built in blocks with arches over the doors and windows. Etched into the face are the names of famous Frenchmen, such as Voltaire, Laplace and Arage and notable inventors. There are also engravings of men and women adorned with laurel wreaths.
The architecture is simple and modestly dotted with decorations of the dragon’s head, flower branches and plants. The pillars, main or auxiliary, and the eaves have all cubic composition. On the top of each pillar there are delicate engravings and bas-reliefs. Under the arch outside the building, there is a huge clock, which is as old as the building and continues to keep proper time.
Entering the building, visitors will see a tall and spacious hall with its dome having steel frames and decorative designs. The structure of domes includes a large dome covering the main gate and another long dome inside. The large dome is supported with four pillars placed on four steel bases in four corners, each pillar holding four steel beams reaching out to the four directions. The long dome inside is supported by two rows of steel bases. Due to this dome construction, the entire building is spacious and well ventilated and full of sunlight, which is well received by the throngs of people coming and going.
On the side walls, there are two maps with the captions in French, “Saigon et ses environs 1892” (Sai Gon and its environment 1892) and “Lignes telegraphiques du Sud Vietnam et Cambodge 1936″ (Telegraphic lines of Southern Vietnam and Cambodia 1892). Over more than 100 years of existence, these two maps have been retained sharply. However researchers are still uncertain about the material used to draw these maps.
The unique and beautiful architecture of Sai Gon Post Office is increasingly highlighted because opposite the front of the building is another delicate architectural work, i.e. the Notre Dame Cathedral with its high bell tower. Dominique, a tourist from Paris, said that he really enjoyed seeing a mini Paris in downtown Sai Gon.
Sai Gon Post Office joins other architectural highlights of the city, including the Governor’s Palace, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the City Hall and the City Court, all composing a group of architectural works with an open space harmonious with the surrounding green trees, thus making them romantic and solemn looking.