Ho Chi Minh is a unique city. Comprising a rich cultural heritage and eye-catching monuments which perfectly blend with the modern city that has sprung around them, Ho Chi Minh will leave a tourist wonder struck. In its rich history that dates back several centuries, the city has been referred by various names and the present one – Ho Chi Minh – was adopted just a few decades ago.
Why was the present name adopted?
The official name of the city is Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, which was adopted in 1976. The current name was adopted in honor of Ho Chi Minh, who was the first leader of North Vietnam and a much-respected figure in the country.
Ho Chi Minh made a major contribution in the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam or North Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh was a respected freedom fighter and led the independence movement against the French who were controlling Vietnam at the time. In 1945, he established the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, which had a Communist government. This was opposed by the French and the country was engulfed in a war between the French and Việt Minh, which was a national independence coalition. The war led to the defeat of the French and Vietnam achieved independence.
In his political career, Ho Chi Minh held important assignments. From 1945 to 1955, he was the Prime Minister and from 1945 to 1969, he served as the President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. He was also the Chairman and First Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Vietnam.
Earlier Name of Ho Chi Minh City
Prior to the adoption of the current name, the city was known as Saigon. The name Sài Gòn was given by the Vietnamese refugees who were running away from the Trịnh–Nguyễn Civil War, which was a long-drawn and devastating war between Vietnam’s two ruling families. The most common explanation defining the name is that Saigon is made up of two words – Sai and Gon. Sai means, twigs, firewood, lops; palisade, while Gon means Pole, stick, bole and this word later evolved into cotton in the Vietnamese language. During the time of the Kingdom of Champa, the city was referred as “Baigaur.” From 1955 to 1975, the region witnessed war between North Vietnam and South Vietnam, which ended with the victory of the former in 1975. Following the reunification of the North and South and the establishment of the present Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Saigon, became the most prominent city of the country. Earlier, it was the capital of South Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh is today a thriving city and a favorable tourist’s destination for travelers from around the world. The City has retained its strong links with its colonial past as French colonial buildings and boulevards can still be seen. Some popular destinations to explore in the city are Binh Tay Market, War Remnants Museum, Cao Dai Temple, Jade Emperor Pagoda, Reunification Palace, and others.