The People’s Committee Building

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | C.1908

Photo Credit: Alex Huynh

Lavishly outfitted with an ornate French colonial-style facade, The People’s Committee Building may look as if it was plucked right out of the streets of Paris, but in some ways, the history of the century-old structure reflects the modern history of Vietnam itself.

It’s no surprise there is French influence found in the Building’s design — a Frenchman designed it. Constructed over the course of a decade, what was originally dubbed the Hotel de Ville was opened in 1908. During this time, the country was part of Indochina, a federation of then-French colonies of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Colonial rule in Indochina collapsed following World War II, and once reclaimed, the government of South Vietnam converted the hotel into a city hall.

Not long after, Vietnam found itself on the brink of civil war, and by the 1960s, the country erupted into all out war. After almost two decades of of terrible conflict, the country was reunified in 1975 and the city of Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, after North Vietnam’s leader.

City Hall became The People’s Committee Building, and a statue of Ho Chi Minh teaching a child would be placed in the garden courtyard – a symbolic presence of the transformation Vietnam endured from a French colony to the independent country it is today, and the vehement revolutionary credited with its unification.

Written By: Kelly Murray

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