Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City

4 out of 5 stars 79 Reviews

Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 700000 +84 8 3822 0477
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  • KeithValentina's Profile Photo

    ArchitectureMasterpiece Saigon Notre DameCathedral

    by KeithValentina Written May 8, 2015

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Architectural Masterpiece Notre Dame Cathedral – Saigon. Notre Dame Cathedral (also known as the Big Church, Basilica, and Cathedral) in Ho Chi Minh City is magnificent, beautiful, and stable in the center of the city and has always attracted many people.

    But over 124 years of existence, not many people knows what’s about this church. Seen from outside, the whole church from the roof to the wall is a red brick color. Features of such these bricks and tiles are to preserve its original color from the date of construction to now and against mildew.

    A number of broken tiles in the church have words Guichard Carvin, Marseille St André France, and another pieces with the words Wang – Tai Saigon. Maybe this is the pieces of tiles are produced later in Saigon used to replace broken tile pieces during the Second World War when as the priest Vuong Si Tuan, there were many glass windows broken.

    Inside the church is quite large, can accommodate 1,200 people, with two main rows of rectangular pillars, each side with 6 pillars (total 12 ones) which represents the 12 apostles. Right behind the two main rows of pillars is a corridor which has several cabins with small altars (about 20 altars). The altars and small statues are made of white stone and are sophisticated.

    On the walls are decorated with 56 glass windows describing characters or event in the Bible, 31 rose shapes, 25 glass multicolored windows with beautiful images. Unfortunately, there are only two original windows.
    Standing from the main altar of the church looking high above the main door, we will see a large wooden wall. That is called a “Organ shelve” and that wooden wall is the pipe organ, one of the two oldest the organs today, according to the priest Vuong Si Tuan, the organ was made and hand-tailored by foreign experts, to ensure enough sound for the whole church, not small but not noisy.

    It is estimated that the organ’s body is above 3m high, 4m wide, 2m long, containing aluminum tubes about an inch in diameter. Though several organs were installed in the cathedral over time, the earliest ones were inadequate for the building. The first more noted organ was finished in the 18th century by the noted builder François-Henri Clicquot. Some of Clicquot’s original pipework in the pedal division continues to sound from the organ today. The organ was almost completely rebuilt and expanded in the 19th century by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.

    The organ has 7,374 pipes, with 900 classified as historical. It has 110 real stops, five 56-key manuals and a 32-key pedalboard. In December 1992, a two-year restoration of the organ was completed that fully computerized the organ under three LANs (Local Area Networks). The restoration also included a number of additions, notably two further horizontal reed stops en chamade in the Cavaille-Coll style. The Notre-Dame organ is therefore unique in France in having five fully independent reed stops en chamade.
    Inside the organ was similarly designed as the piano but is more complex. The organ also has big bars to hit the bottom of sound tubes which is somewhat similar playing k’long of Central Highlands. According to Mr. Nam Hai, who is in charge of church music, to play this organ, players must learn in private class because no school teaches this organ.

    Unfortunately, this organ has completely broken down due to lack of storage (due to termites eat manual key controller). Currently the church has a similar guitar but much smaller, valued at approximately $ 70,000, is relatively new. It was sent by a former French consul in Ho Chi Minh. Two sides of the organ is a void, which is bell tower. From this void looking up the roof of bell tower- more than 26m high. It is very high and there is only one a long narrow staircase leading to the bell.

    Around the middle of the small staircase is 15- meter height, with a small frame of mesh archway. Slip into that door, it is described with a lot of dust and bat droppings, a substantial part of the Notre Dame Cathedral clock appears. Clockwork is as big as a large wardrobe closet. To adjust the clock, behind the machine has a small clock. Just tracking this small clock, you can know the big one works well or not.
    The three largest bells: the Sol bell weighs 8.745kg, the Si bell weighs 3.150kg and the Re bell weighs 2.194kg. Total weight of the bell is nearly 30 tonnes, all were casted in France in 1879. Features of the church’s bells have its own distinct timbre. When building the church, the bell towers did not have roofs. In 1885, the architect Gardes added the roofs to cover the bell towers with total height from ground of 57m.

    If travelling Ho Chi Minh City, tourists visit the Notre Dame Cathedral on weekends, holidays to find out more the beauty of religious culture, and experience more for yourselves.

    How to get there

    Of course, there should be no worry about how to get there as the route is easy and almost everyone can give tourists guidance. Entrance is free and visitors can attend masses easily at weekend.

    The cathedral’s address is No. 1 Cong truong Cong xa Paris St., right at the intersection of Pham Ngoc Thach St, Le Duan St and Cong xa Paris St.
    (Source from http://saigon-online.net/index.php/architectural-masterpiece-notre-dame-cathedral-saigon/)

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL & WEDDINGS

    by balhannah Updated Dec 30, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The French colonists did it again - They built this lovely Cathedral between 1863 and 1880.
    The style of the Cathedral was chosen by holding a "design' competition.

    Well, French Colonists wanted French building materials, so all of them were imported from France.
    The first stone was laid in 1877. Finally, 3 years later, the Cathedral was complete. Inside the main entry gate is a plate commemorating the start and completion dates and designer. In 1895, two bell towers were added to the cathedral and crosses were installed on the top of each tower.

    Paris Square is in-front of the Cathedral. It had a lovely flower garden where Brides & Grooms were having their photos taken, a very popular place!

    The Virgin Mary statue, is also within the small garden. In 2005, the statue was reported to have shed tears attracting thousands of people to come and see for themselves. Later, it was declared the statue didn't shed tears!

    The late 19th century Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the oldest and biggest Catholic churches in Vietnam, and is a prominent feature of the city’s skyline with its twin spires.

    Visitors can attend mass held three times on weekdays and six times on Sundays
    No admission is charged in this cathedral
    DONATIONS APPRECIATED

    Open: Daily, Sunday Mass 9:30am

    Address: Dong Khoi, District 1

    Directions: City center

    Wedding photos in the park Notre Dame Cathedral
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  • theguardianangel's Profile Photo

    Notre dame Cathedral

    by theguardianangel Updated Sep 22, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Notre dame Cathedral is one of the best churches I've ever seen! No wonder why it's gorgeous since it was designed by the same person responsible for the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. After a long walk from Pham Ngu Lao road, finally we arrived in this place. All the sweat suddenly dried off when I saw the church.

    They say that whenever you visit a new church, whatever wish or pray; it will come true. Well, I believe in it after all it's all up to HIM if I deserve it.

    My friends and I were very excited to take a look inside. There was a church staff that allowed us to go in the inner part of the church. At the left side were statues of Jesus, Mary and other saints. At the entrance, there's an old woman that sells rosaries and candles. At first I didn't have any intention to buy any of those but when I thought of my very religious grandmother and relatives I decided to buy anyway. We met an old local man who's known to the vendor, he's very friendly. We chit chat for a while, then when we finished buying rosaries and some candles he offered us that he can have our rosaries blessed by the priest... that was really kind of him. I asked for his name but now I can't remember even the first letter (memory loss).

    There are lots of wedding pictorials done outside the church. It has a very nice effect as background picture:)

    Address: Dong Khoi, District 1

    Directions: in front of the Post Office

    Notre Dame Cathedral beautiful church rosaries for sale light a candle at the left side of the church sssshhhh....
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    Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

    by heydelin Written May 4, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, officially Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception is a cathedral located in the downtown of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Established by French colonists, the cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880. -Wikipedia

    The Basilica is really buautiful. It opens at 3pm. Lots of couple have a pre-nuptial photoshoot there! :)

    Address: Dong Khoi, District 1

    Directions: City center

    me at Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica me at Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica
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  • alyf1961's Profile Photo

    NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL

    by alyf1961 Written Oct 11, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Cathedral known as Nha Tho Duc Ba. Built in the late 19th Century from local stone then covered with red ceramic tiles shipped from France it is the largest Church built in the French empire. It was completed in 1880 and was the tallest structure in the city. It originally had stained glass windows brought over from Chartres but these were destroyed during World War II and they were replaced with plain glass.
    The statue of the Virgin Mary, which was made in Rome, was added in the 1950’s.

    Address: Dong Khoi, District 1

    Directions: City center

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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Center of Roman Catholicism in Vietnam (2:inside)

    by machomikemd Written Jun 16, 2012

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    final part of my Notre Dame Church Multi- Tips more pictures around the inside area of the Church

    Vietnam has the second largest roman catholic population in asia, of which the largest is in the philippines and the third in Timor leste due to the various missionaries coming from the then spanish colony, the philippines and by the french during colonization in the 1800's.

    It is the seat of the Roman Catholic church in the city and there are about 8% of vietnam's population are Roman Catholics. The neo-Romanesque structure has two 40 metre iron spired towers and was built between 1877 and 1883 by the French with the stone ship from France .The church is one of the tallest buildings in the city and the oldest Catholic churches in Vietnam.

    The first church was built on Rue 5 (today's Ngo Duc Ke Street). This had been a Vietnamese pagoda, which had been abandoned during the war. Bishop Lefevre decided to make this pagoda a church. The first church was too small, thus in 1863, Admiral Bonard decided to build a wooden church on the bank of Charner canal (Kinh Lớn). Lefevre put the first stone for construction of the church on 28 March 1863. The construction was completed in 1865 and was called "Saigon Church" but it was burn down and construction of the present concrete church finished in October 1877. This is one of the landmarks among the impressive avenues and open spaces north of Dong Khoi. The huge red-brick edifice with twin spires is placed between two streams of traffic and is a clear reminder that the French once ruled this city. Inside, the decor is relatively austere, but the church gets very full and very lively during services

    Opens: 9:30am-11am Sun (Mass).

    Address: Dong Khoi, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam

    Directions: City center, Dong Khoi, Near Post Office.

    the basilica close up baptism area the wall more cypts
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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Center of Roman Catholicism in Vietnam (1:inside)

    by machomikemd Written Jun 16, 2012

    part one of my Notre Dame Church Multi- Tips more pictures around the inside area of the Church

    Vietnam has the second largest roman catholic population in asia, of which the largest is in the philippines and the third in Timor leste due to the various missionaries coming from the then spanish colony, the philippines and by the french during colonization in the 1800's.

    It is the seat of the Roman Catholic church in the city and there are about 8% of vietnam's population are Roman Catholics. The neo-Romanesque structure has two 40 metre iron spired towers and was built between 1877 and 1883 by the French with the stone ship from France .The church is one of the tallest buildings in the city and the oldest Catholic churches in Vietnam.

    The first church was built on Rue 5 (today's Ngo Duc Ke Street). This had been a Vietnamese pagoda, which had been abandoned during the war. Bishop Lefevre decided to make this pagoda a church. The first church was too small, thus in 1863, Admiral Bonard decided to build a wooden church on the bank of Charner canal (Kinh Lớn). Lefevre put the first stone for construction of the church on 28 March 1863. The construction was completed in 1865 and was called "Saigon Church" but it was burn down and construction of the present concrete church finished in October 1877. This is one of the landmarks among the impressive avenues and open spaces north of Dong Khoi. The huge red-brick edifice with twin spires is placed between two streams of traffic and is a clear reminder that the French once ruled this city. Inside, the decor is relatively austere, but the church gets very full and very lively during services

    Opens: 9:30am-11am Sun (Mass).

    Address: Dong Khoi, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam

    Directions: City center, Dong Khoi, Near Post Office.

    offerrings trip to the holyland selling religous statues and flowers cypts inside a prayer
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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Center of Roman Catholicism in Vietnam (2:outside)

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 14, 2012

    part two of my Notre Dame Church Multi- Tips more pictures around outside area of the Church

    Vietnam has the second largest roman catholic population in asia, of which the largest is in the philippines and the third in Timor leste due to the various missionaries coming from the then spanish colony, the philippines and by the french during colonization in the 1800's.

    It is the seat of the Roman Catholic church in the city and there are about 8% of vietnam's population are Roman Catholics. The neo-Romanesque structure has two 40 metre iron spired towers and was built between 1877 and 1883 by the French with the stone ship from France .The church is one of the tallest buildings in the city and the oldest Catholic churches in Vietnam.

    The first church was built on Rue 5 (today's Ngo Duc Ke Street). This had been a Vietnamese pagoda, which had been abandoned during the war. Bishop Lefevre decided to make this pagoda a church. The first church was too small, thus in 1863, Admiral Bonard decided to build a wooden church on the bank of Charner canal (Kinh Lớn). Lefevre put the first stone for construction of the church on 28 March 1863. The construction was completed in 1865 and was called "Saigon Church" but it was burn down and construction of the present concrete church finished in October 1877. This is one of the landmarks among the impressive avenues and open spaces north of Dong Khoi. The huge red-brick edifice with twin spires is placed between two streams of traffic and is a clear reminder that the French once ruled this city. Inside, the decor is relatively austere, but the church gets very full and very lively during services

    Opens: 9:30am-11am Sun (Mass).

    Address: Dong Khoi, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam

    Directions: City center, Dong Khoi, Near Post Office.

    the marian statue inscription the clock the entrance sign facing the park in front of the church
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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Center of Roman Catholicism in Vietnam (1:outside)

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 14, 2012

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    this will be a multi part tip with more pictures in and around the Church

    Vietnam has the second largest roman catholic population in asia, of which the largest is in the philippines and the third in Timor leste due to the various missionaries coming from the then spanish colony, the philippines and by the french during colonization in the 1800's.

    It is the seat of the Roman Catholic church in the city and there are about 8% of vietnam's population are Roman Catholics. The neo-Romanesque structure has two 40 metre iron spired towers and was built between 1877 and 1883 by the French with the stone ship from France .The church is one of the tallest buildings in the city and the oldest Catholic churches in Vietnam.

    The first church was built on Rue 5 (today's Ngo Duc Ke Street). This had been a Vietnamese pagoda, which had been abandoned during the war. Bishop Lefevre decided to make this pagoda a church. The first church was too small, thus in 1863, Admiral Bonard decided to build a wooden church on the bank of Charner canal (Kinh Lớn). Lefevre put the first stone for construction of the church on 28 March 1863. The construction was completed in 1865 and was called "Saigon Church" but it was burn down and construction of the present concrete church finished in October 1877. This is one of the landmarks among the impressive avenues and open spaces north of Dong Khoi. The huge red-brick edifice with twin spires is placed between two streams of traffic and is a clear reminder that the French once ruled this city. Inside, the decor is relatively austere, but the church gets very full and very lively during services

    Opens: 9:30am-11am Sun (Mass).

    Address: Dong Khoi, District 1, HCMC Vietnam

    Directions: City center, Dong Khoi, Near Post Office.

    the front Magnificent! at the back view An Architectural Wonder! view from post office view from the front of the church
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    SAIGON’S BEAUTIFUL HANDMADE CEMENT TILE DISPLAYS

    by ja3ja3 Written Mar 21, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A very special day can be spent in Saigon exploring some amazingly beautiful architectural examples of handmade cement tiles – made right here in Saigon.

    Last year, 2011, when I helped three Vietnamese friends reestablish and energize one of Vietnam’s original cement tile manufacturing plants, I learned more than I thought I’d ever want to know about cement tiles. And in the process, I was treated to a fascinating insider’s look into Vietnam’s cement tile manufacturing business … and gained a new respect and appreciation for this classic art work.

    What many folk may not be aware of, is that as France established itself as the premier manufacturer of cement tiles in the last century, it located much of its tile production in its then colony, Vietnam. Here it moved its best tile press equipment and trained a generation of Vietnamese tile pressers in the fine art of handmade cement tile production.

    Here it also embellished government buildings, public squares, and commercial centers with magnificent and ornate cement tile.

    Perhaps the premier example is readily accessible to visitors from central Saigon – the Saigon Post Office.

    Or, walk across the street from the Post Office and take a peek inside Saigon’s Notre Dame.

    Or, mix touring and some shopping at an upscale home interior design store with amazing cement tile accent flooring on every level of the shop at Gaya Interior Design, 1 Nguyen Van Trang Str, (corner of Le Lai,Dist.1)

    A BIT OF BACKGROUND

    WIKIPEDIA explains: “Originally decorative tiles, known as encaustic tiles, were prepared from a pigmented clay base then heated or fired in a kiln. Tiles made by this method were very popular and can still be seen widely in Europe, Latin America and the US. Following the discovery of Portland cement and development of hydraulic presses, cement tile, as we know them today is prepared without the use of clay or heating. Cement tile appeared in the late 19th century in the south of France. Several sources say the first tiles were made near the country’s first Portland cement plant. Around the turn of the 20th century, the tiles were very popular in the United States and were considered high-end floor covering. It was used in thousands of landmark public buildings and palaces.”

    When the French left Vietnam in 1954, they left behind rich coffee plantations, excellent recipes for French baguettes, and the finest cement tile press machinery and the best tile pressers in the industry.

    How Cement Tiles are Made

    In Vietnam, cement tiles are made by hand – one at a time – by experienced and local apprentice tile makers. As such, each tile is unique and will have slight variations which establish its unique character, depth and charm. These tiles are made using a metal crafted pattern mold, mineral pigments, Portland cement and fine powdered aggregate. These basic ingredients are compressed using mechanical hydraulic presses – many original century-old French equipment preserved and restored to their original use. There is no glaze or kiln firing involved in cement tile production. Cement tiles are cured by water and air only –just like ordinary cement. Handmade cement tiles are considered by many as a “green product” – made from common ingredients found in nature and using extremely low consumption. Metal molds are made by mold crafters to reflect classic cement tile historical designs or newly created designed by architects and interior designers. The molds may be steel or copper grids forming the desired patterns. Pigment compositions, varying from soft subtle hues to vibrant bold colors, which will give each tile production its own unique look, are created by tile makers from a mixture of high quality white Portland cement, marble powder, fine sand, and natural mineral color pigments.

    Production Process:

    Tile pressers then begin the production process by securely setting the metal molds into a mold framework that will define the border size of the tile.

    LAYER 1: The tile presser pours the first tile layer by hand – containing the desired powdered white marble / cement / pigment mix into each section of the pattern’s mold. This first layer is, in fact, the patterned top of the tile, now laying face-down in the mold. This layer is typically 1/8” (3mm) in depth.

    LAYER 2: After the patterned color layer is poured, the metal pattern mold is removed carefully by hand. Next, a much drier cement / fine sand mixture is hand-sprinkled on top. This layer will draw moisture from the more moist patterned initial layer below when it is pressed. This layer is typically 1/8” (3mm) and provides a strong base for the first patterned layer.

    LAYER 3: The third and final layer of cement / sand is poured in the mold and leveled to form what will become the bottom porous layer of the finished tile of a thickness necessary for installation integrity. This layer typically results in a full tile depth of 4/10” (10mm) for a standard 8” square tile. Finally, a metal plate, is placed on top and the tile is pressed using a hydraulic press using up to 2000 pounds per square inch. After completing the tile pressing, tile pressers carefully remove the new tile from the mold and moisten it to ensure the cement / sand mixture undergoes the chemical change necessary to produce the strongest concrete tiles. The tiles are then placed in drying racks. After the tiles are cured, a final inspection and fine-finishing by hand is done for each tile.

    Address: Saigon’s Notre Dame; ALSO 1 Nguyen Van Trang Str

    Directions: Saigon’s Notre Dame; ALSO Gaya Interior Design, 1 Nguyen Van Trang Str, (corner of Le Lai,Dist.1)

    Cement Tiles Handmade in Saigon Cement Tiles Handmade in Saigon Vietnam Cement Tiles at the Saigon Post Office Cement Tile
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  • Notre Dame Cathedral

    by Edwinfa Written Oct 12, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I don't know how many people has visited this Church, I used to go every Sunday to the church kept many petitions and prayed to Mother Mary, my petitions were answered and received many blessings, so i kindly request everyone who visit to this church keep your petitions and pray sure you will receive the blessing from Mother Mary, For a long time i want to write a note, but today i need to tell others with the blessing i am receiving, if i don't proclaim it, how will others know about this.............

    Address: Dong Khoi, District 1

    Directions: The Paris Commune Square, City center

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    Notre Dame Cathedral

    by schurman23 Updated Oct 1, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Notre Dame is a cathedral located in downtown of Saigon and was built by French colonists between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers, with a crucifix both at its peak. The walls are made of bricks and there is a flower garden outside with a statue of the Blessed Mother.

    Address: Dong Khoi, District 1

    Directions: City center

    Website: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/m/1550fe/

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    Notre Dame Cathedral

    by cal6060 Updated Jul 28, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Notre Dame Cathedral is a landmark of Ho Chin City. It's classical and colonial style architecture has attracted many visitors everyday. This cathedral is built by red bricks and it retains its bright red color all the time. In front of the cathedral, it matches very well with the Virgin Mary status, and the 57.6 m high six bronze bells.

    This Cathedral was built by the French as a place for community and religion services.

    I did not manage to go inside the church due to some special events.

    Address: Dong Khoi, District 1

    Directions: next to the General Post Office

    Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City
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    Nice part of town !!!!

    by jlanza29 Written May 10, 2011

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    The Norte Dame catherdral is in probably the nicest part of Ho Chi Minh City ... a nice square one can stand or sit here for hours and watch the world go by. It was closed when we were there so we could not go inside, but we walked around the area and had a nice time.

    Address: Dong Khoi, District 1

    Directions: City center

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  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo

    Notre Dame Cathedral

    by easterntrekker Written Feb 11, 2011

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    This grand cathedral was built by the French in the 1800's. So beautiful on the outside .It looks rather barren inside ,however but while it lacks the gilded alters and priceless art of other Cathedrals it is built in an elegant style.It stands proudly in the square and has with stood the test of many turbulant years.

    Address: Dong Khoi, District 1

    Directions: City center

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