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PlacesMonday, 06/18/2007, 08:50

Pham Ngoc Thach Street

Pham Ngoc Thach Street

Pham Ngoc Thach Street


These days the water fountain is surrounded by cafes and other shops selling snacks and a college built near the tower has brought more visitors.


The fountain divides one of erstwhile Saigon's most ancient streets, now named Pham Ngoc Thach.


A flower shop on the street, Duy Tan, recalls to the mind of old-timers one of the names the 720m long street has gone through.


During the colonial days, the street was popular as Catinat noi dai (or Catinat prolonge).


In February 1897, the French gave the street two names, with the section running from Le Duan Street to the present International Plaza called Blanscube, and the rest, from the International Plaza to the intersection with Vo Thi Sau Street, Garcerie.


In November 1952, when Bao Dai reigned after being propped up by the French, Garcerie was renamed Duy Tan after the 11th king (1907-1916) of the Nguyen Dynasty.


Under the former Saigon administration, Catinat prolonge and Duy Tan Street were joined together and called Duy Tan in March 1955.


The present name, given in 1985, is remembered with gratitude by those who had been to the southern front during the American War, for the physician who helped them to fight malaria.


Thach is famous for his research into finding drugs to fight the mosquito-borne disease that was the bane of soldiers fighting and hiding in the jungles.


Thach was born in 1909 in the central Quang Nam Province and graduated from medical college. Before the August 1945 Revolution, he led a pioneer youth group which later became the core for the civil uprising to seize power from the Saigon administration.


He was appointed as a member of the provisional Nam Bo (southern) administration and later became the chairman of the Sai Gon-Gia Dinh Administrative Resistance Committee.


To benefit from his knowledge and experience, he was called to Ha Noi and made Health Minister.


When the war against the US broke out in the south, Thach returned to the front, and died there in 1968.

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