Quách Thị Trang Square

Coordinates: 10°46′17″N 106°41′54″E / 10.77139°N 106.69833°E / 10.77139; 106.69833
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Quách Thị Trang Square
Công trường Quách Thị Trang
City square
Former name(s):
Place Eugène Cuniac, Diên Hồng Square
Quach Thi Trang Square in 2009
Quach Thi Trang Square in 2009
OwnerHo Chi Minh City
LocationDistrict 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Map
Coordinates: 10°46′17″N 106°41′54″E / 10.77139°N 106.69833°E / 10.77139; 106.69833

Quách Thị Trang Square (Vietnamese: Công trường Quách Thị Trang) is the city square in front of the well-known Bến Thành Market in District 1, downtown Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.[1]

The square was known for its landscaped traffic circle featuring the equestrian statue of Trần Nguyên Hãn [vi] and the white bust of Quách Thị Trang [vi].[2] For six years from 2017 to 2022, it was the construction site of the Ben Thanh metro station, the central station of the Ho Chi Minh City Metro.[3]

History[edit]

For two decades following the French conquest of Saigon, the site that would become the present-day Quách Thị Trang was part of a large marsh known as Marais Boresse. In the early 1880s, part of the marsh was reclaimed for the construction of the Saigon–My Tho railway line and a large steam locomotive depot.[4] However, the present-day square was not laid out until 1910, when the government approved a 1.25-million-piastre project for sanitation of the Boresse marsh which also included the planning of the new railway station and the construction of the Saigon–Cholon boulevard (modern-day Trần Hưng Đạo).[5] As a result, the locomotive depot was demolished and the railway terminus was relocated to the area now occupied by September 23 Park.[4]

The Eugène Cuniac Square

The square, originally a simple open space, was opened in March 1914, along with the Halles centrales (present-day Bến Thành Market).[6] In 1916, it was officially named place Eugène Cuniac, in honour of the former Mayor of Saigon Eugène François Jean-Baptiste Cuniac (1851–1916), although still commonly known as the place du marché central (Central market Square). The subsequent openings of the new Saigon Railway Station (1915) and the Halles centrales electric tramway terminus (1923) and the operation of two bus stations transformed the square into one of Saigon's most important transport hubs. In 1929, the authorities installed a traffic circle with landscaped gardens at the square's center.[4]

In 1955, place Eugène Cuniac was renamed Diên Hồng Square (Công trường Diên Hồng) by the South Vietnamese government after the name of a meeting convened by emperor Trần Thánh Tông to solicit a referendum in the face of the second Mongol invasion of Đại Việt.[4][7]

Memorial bust of Quách Thị Trang in 2008
Dien Hong Square in 1967

On 25 August 1963 (during the Buddhist crisis), Quách Thị Trang, a 15-year-old Buddhist and student, was shot dead by a stray bullet at Diên Hồng Square while protesting against the martial law imposed by Ngô Đình Diệm.[8][9] A year later, a white memorial bust of Quách Thị Trang was placed near the center of the roundabout. According to Vu Quang Hung, who was then a student and the head of the secret "Quach Thi Trang Monument Construction Committee", the erection of the bust was carefully planned to take place very quickly in late September 1964 during a protest against the Vũng Tàu Charter proclaimed by General Nguyễn Khánh, when the crowd surrounded the site and concealed the monument construction.[10][11] In 1966, an equestrian statue of Trần Nguyên Hãn, a 15th-century general who fought in the Lam Sơn uprising, was also erected in the center of the roundabout.[12]

After Vietnam was reunified, Diên Hồng Square was officially renamed Quách Thị Trang Square. The statues of Trần Nguyên Hãn and Quách Thị Trang remained in place until 2014, when the former was moved to Phú Lâm Park in District 6, and the latter was moved to Bách Tùng Diệp Park.[4][13]

Quach Thi Trang Square 2014
Quach Thi Trang Square 2016
View of the square before and after the removal of the Tran Nguyen Han statue and the Quach Thi Trang bust

Additionally, in 1957, the tramway terminus at the square, previously managed by the Compagnie française des tramways de l'Indochine (C.F.T.I.), was taken over by the Republic of Vietnam Ministry of Public Works and Transport and became the central bus station of Saigon.[14] This bus station remained in operation until 2017 when it was relocated to the nearby Hàm Nghi Boulevard to make space for the metro station construction site.[15] The Saigon Railway Station, on the other hand, was soon closed in 1978 and was relocated to Hòa Hưng (the site of the current station), while the area of the old station was converted into the present-day September 23 Park.[16]

Upon the completion of the metro station, the square was temporarily restored and traffic was rerouted to create a pedestrian zone in front of Bến Thành Market.[17] A further major renovation of the square, which includes the reerection of the two monuments, is expected to be completed in 2025.[18][19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Map of Ho Chi Minh City". HCM CityWeb. Archived from the original on 2021-12-11. Retrieved 2023-10-21.
  2. ^ Robinson, Daniel; Storey, Robert (1993). Vietnam: a travel survival kit. Lonely Planet. p. 210. ISBN 9780864421975. Archived from the original on 2023-11-08. Retrieved 2023-10-30.
  3. ^ Clark, James (July 11, 2023). "Ben Thanh Station – A 3-line metro interchange that will transform Ho Chi Minh City". Future Southeast Asia. Archived from the original on October 26, 2023. Retrieved October 21, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d e Doling, Tim (July 27, 2015). "Saigon's Famous Streets and Squares: Quách Thị Trang Square". Saigoneer. Archived from the original on October 21, 2023. Retrieved October 21, 2023.
  5. ^ Gouvernement général de l'Indochine (1913). Rapports au Conseil de Gouvernement. Session ordinaire de 1913. Imprimerie d'Extrême-Orient. pp. 35–36. Archived from the original on 2022-06-25. Retrieved 2023-10-21.
  6. ^ Baudrit, André (1943). Guide historique des rues de Saigon. Saigon: S.I.L.I. p. 487. Archived from the original on 2023-11-03. Retrieved 2023-10-30.
  7. ^ Lockhart, Bruce; Duiker, William J. (2006). Historical Dictionary of Vietnam. Scarecrow Press. pp. 104–105. ISBN 9780810865051.
  8. ^ "Quach Thi Trang's murderer sentenced to three-year prison". Vietnam Fights and Builds (10): 13. 1966. Archived from the original on 2023-11-10. Retrieved 2023-10-30.
  9. ^ Oka, Takashi (1964). Newsletters about the Vietnamese war sent by Takashi Oka from Vietnam, Japan and Austria to the Institute of Current World Affairs. Institute of Current World Affairs. pp. 6, 10. Archived from the original on 2023-11-03. Retrieved 2023-10-30.
  10. ^ Vũ, Quang Hùng (April 22, 2010). "Dựng tượng Quách Thị Trang trước mũi súng cảnh sát". Pháp Luật TP.HCM (in Vietnamese). Archived from the original on November 9, 2023. Retrieved November 9, 2023.
  11. ^ Thích, Nhật Từ; Nguyễn, Kha (2013). Pháp nạn Phật giáo 1963: Nguyên nhân, bản chất và tiến trình (in Vietnamese). Hồng Đức Publishing House. pp. 508–509. Archived from the original on 2023-11-15. Retrieved 2023-11-15.
  12. ^ Ngô, Gia (August 31, 2022). "Phục hồi nguyên bản tượng Trần Nguyên Hãn". Người Đô Thị (in Vietnamese). Archived from the original on December 4, 2022. Retrieved November 13, 2023.
  13. ^ "Statue fronting Vietnam's Ben Thanh market to be temporarily relocated". Tuoi Tre News. August 20, 2014. Archived from the original on October 26, 2023. Retrieved October 21, 2023.
  14. ^ Doling, Tim (December 5, 2016). "A Throwback to Saigon's Original Tramway Network". Saigoneer. Archived from the original on October 26, 2023. Retrieved October 21, 2023.
  15. ^ "New bus station opens in downtown Ho Chi Minh City". Tuoi Tre News. December 29, 2017. Archived from the original on November 9, 2023. Retrieved October 21, 2023.
  16. ^ "Saigon Railway Station Might Get a Snazzy Vintage-Theme Makeover Soon". Saigoneer. February 28, 2018. Archived from the original on October 30, 2023. Retrieved October 21, 2023.
  17. ^ Gia Minh (January 24, 2023). "Downtown area gets facelift as construction barriers for HCMC's first metro removed". VnExpress. Archived from the original on October 26, 2023. Retrieved October 21, 2023.
  18. ^ Thanh Ha; Cam Nuong (October 15, 2023). "Ho Chi Minh City to revamp iconic Ben Thanh Market". Tuoi Tre News. Archived from the original on October 20, 2023. Retrieved October 21, 2023.
  19. ^ Tran, Quynh (October 18, 2023). "Iconic Ben Thanh Market dilapidated after 100 years". VnExpress. Archived from the original on October 25, 2023. Retrieved October 25, 2023.

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