Old Saigon Building of the Week – Trinh Khanh Tan Mausoleum, 1914


The facade of the Trịnh Khánh Tấn Mausoleum

Visitors to the Pétrus Ký Mausoleum and Memorial House in Chợ Quán may notice another ornate mausoleum located just 100m east along Trần Hưng Đạo boulevard in Hẻm (Alley) 472.

This was built in 1914 to house the tomb of Dominique-Thomas Trịnh Khánh Tấn (died 1913), Honorary District Chief (Tri huyện Honoraire) of Chợ Quán.


The Trịnh Khánh Tấn Mausoleum

Little is known of Tấn, other than the fact that he was a trusted official of the colonial administration who lived on the nearby avenue de l’église de Choquan (modern Trần Bình Trọng street). Today he is remembered principally for his book Học Tập Qui Chánh (SLND, Chợ Quán, 1906), which he wrote to help Vietnamese Roman Catholic children live an upright and useful life.

Buried either side of Tấn are his wife Lê Thị Gương (died 1922) and their daughter Trịnh Thị Thiết (died 1948). An altar is located behind the three tombs. Outside, above the entrance, is a Latin inscription from the Vulgate Bible, which reads: Beati mortui qui in Domino moriuntur, meaning “Blessed are the dead who die in [the grace of] the Lord.”

If the gate is locked, those wishing to enter the mausoleum should make their way round to the left of the mausoleum until they reach the Quỳnh Café at 474/9 and ask the owner, who is a descendant of Trịnh Khánh Tấn.

Tim Doling is the author of the walking tour guidebook Exploring Hồ Chí Minh City (Nhà Xuất Bản Thế Giới, Hà Nội, 2014) and also conducts Saigon and Chợ Lớn Heritage Tours.

A full index of all Tim’s blog articles since November 2013 is now available here.

Join the Facebook group pages Saigon-Chợ Lớn Then & Now to see historic photographs juxtaposed with new ones taken in the same locations, and Đài Quan sát Di sản Sài Gòn – Saigon Heritage Observatory for up-to-date information on conservation issues in Saigon and Chợ Lớn.

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