25/02/2015 | 14:46:19

Ben Thanh market – a symbol of Ho Chi Minh City

Ben Thanh market – a symbol of Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: Vietnam Pictorial)

Located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Thanh market has long been viewed as a symbol of the country’s largest economic hub.

The market, a destination for many tourists, possesses the most ancient architecture, which is praised as one of the most attractive tourist sites in the megacity.

Constructed by the Brossard et Maupin Construction Company in 1912, it was earlier called New market or Saigon market to distinguish it from Old market. After 1957, it was renamed Ben Thanh market.

The famous market has four entrances and four sections, a roof clock tower, and overlooks four main streets of District 1.
In 1985, the market underwent major renovations to both its exterior and interior design, though the overall architecture remains with its trademark clock tower in front.

According to architectural experts, Ben Thanh market is considered a historical monument, as it bears the unique traits of a 100-year-old market without feeling irrelevant or looking out of place in the busy city life. If anything, it seems to glisten among the surrounding modern and contemporary buildings.

Khuong Van Muoi, President of the city Architects’ Association, said “when we talk about the market, the first thing people remember is the clock tower, but there are also banners surrounding the clock tower extending over the market to provide shade and the market building, designed specifically for natural air-conditioning.”

These are the unique aspects that the French architects were able to accomplish even back then, he added.

Spanning over 13,000 square metres, Ben Thanh market welcomes over 10,000 visitors daily. The market itself hosts nearly 1,500 stalls with over 6,000 small businesses selling wholesale and retail items from food to luxury goods.

The four main market gates also serve as a directory for its customers. For instance, the South gate, facing Quach Thi Trang Square, is divided for garments and textiles along with dried food products. At the opposite end, the North gate, people can find cosmetic products and colourful sweets.

The majority of the market is open from dawn to daybreak, but the market’s north gate remains bustling with activities throughout the night.

Ben Thanh has rows and rows of goods specifically to serve the demands of tourists, such as souvenirs, unique clothing, silks, arts and crafts and brocades, but beyond products, what people buy on their trip to Ben Thanh market is the uniqueness and edgy style that reflects life in Ho Chi Minh City. Ben Thanh market has now become one of the destinations of all city tours in Ho Chi Minh City.

Nguyen Thi Anh Minh, Vietnamese living in the US, said “my mother recommended Ben Thanh market because the items here are much better than at other markets. I’ve come here to shop and sightsee.”

Located in the centre of the city, Ben Thanh market is a cultural work of art, with its architecture reflecting the pride of an exciting and modern city.-VNA

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