HCMC Dining Guide

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Moving the General

There's been a theme of change in my posts since returning to Saigon, and there's good reason for that. In the 10 months I was gone a lot happened here, and within the last few months the pace of change has really (really!) picked up, with serious subway construction going on and the closure of Nguyen Hue to create a pedestrian-only boulevard. Soon dozens of trees will be cut down to clear space for another bridge over the river at the foot of Ton Duc Thang, further hastening the ongoing transformation of downtown Saigon.

One more highly visible change will be the removal of the iconic statue of General Tran Nguyen Han in front of Ben Thanh market, one of the city's most-visited spots. General Han helped Emperor Le Loi (whose eponymous street begins at the statue) repel three Mongol invasions and establish the Le Dynasty, which ruled from 1428 to 1788. The mounted general has presided over the huge roundabout in front of the market for decades, and can be seen in this photo I took over four years ago.
However, a huge subway station linking several lines is going to be built underneath this roundabout, radically altering the area, and the statue is in the process of being relocated to a park in District 6. Right now blue scaffolding surrounds the general, and it will be strange to see this empty space once the landmark is completely removed.

6 comments:

  1. Are businesses affected must by the subway construction Mike?

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    1. Definitely, the businesses on Nguyen Hue must be seriously hurting as it's almost impossible to get there.

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  2. Amazing how fast things change and develop in a emerging country. Hopefully I can go back and live for a year or so someday!

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  3. BTW how was your thanksgiving in Vietnam?

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    1. It was good - just got together with a small group at my girlfriend's apartment, no turkey but we had a ton of food.

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  4. I saw that the other day and was wondering why they put the tarps up. Thanks for clearing that up. @rawfoodyoga, the construction has a serious impact on businesses near the construction. My brother-in-law owns an art gallery a block away from some of the construction, and he said business has been much slower than normal since they started closing off the roads.

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