Ho Chi Minh complex

Ho Chi Minh complex

President Ho Chi Minh (5/19/1890-9/2/1969) is so famous that not only Vietnamese but also many people from over the world know him. Despite he went away more than 50 years but his dedications for our nation are still reminded for generations. When you come to Hanoi, you should visit Ho Chi Minh Complex at least one time. Because it is well worth visiting to gain understanding of why the Vietnamese love him so much.

Ho Chi Minh Complex includes:

  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  • Ba Dinh Square
  • Presidential Palace
  • Ho Chi Minh Residence
  • Ho Chi Minh Museum
  • One Pillar Pagoda

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

  • Address: No.2 Hung Vuong street, Dien Ban Ward, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi city (View Google Map here)
  • Opening days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Closing days: Monday, Friday afternoon
  • Opening hours:
    + Morning: from 08:00 to 12:00
    + Afternoon: from 14:00 to 16:30
  • Transportation: the most convenient way is to go by taxi. You also go by bus

Bus No. 09: Direction: Hoan Kiem lake – Cau Giay – Bo Ho.
This bus can stop at 91 – 93 Le Hong Phong street, from here you can walk to Ngoc Ha to visit Ho Chi Minh  Mausoleum.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The reason of building Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Uncle Ho passed away in 1969, at the age of 79. Actually, in his will, he asked for a simple funeral and wanted to be cremated then buried in three parts of the country. The North was the place where he worked and led Vietnamese revolution. The Center is his home land and the South is where in1911 he left for finding to new way to release the country and had no chance to come back since then because of the war.

In Vietnam war against America,Vietnam was divided into 2 zones. During the time, The North was under the control of the Vietnam’s government. It led Vietnamese to fight against America’s army dominating in the South. The Southern people were always missing and looking forward to the country reunification and seeing the Great father. When Uncle Ho was alive, his great wish was also to see Vietnam united and to visit the Southern people once again. Unfortunately it did not happen. Thus, Vietnamese government decided to build the mausoleum to keep his body remain so later on people from any part of the country and foreign friends can visit him.

With a great help from Soviet Union, the construction project started in 2nd Sep 1973 and completed on 21st August 1975. It was built at the exact place where president Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independent in 1945.

Construction of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

It was inspired by Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow but incorporates distinct Vietnamese architectural elements, such as the sloping roof. The exterior is made of grey granite, while the interior is grey, black and red polished stone. The mausoleum’s portico has the words “Chủ tịch Hồ Chí Minh” (President Ho Chi Minh) inscribed across it. While the banner beside says “Nước Cộng Hòa Xã Hội Chủ Nghĩa Việt Nam Muôn Năm” (en: “Long live The Socialist Republic of Viet Nam”).

The structure is 21.6 meters (70.9 feet) high and 41.2 meters (135.2 feet) wide. Flanking the mausoleum are two platforms with seven steps for parade viewing. The plaza in front of the mausoleum is divided into 240 green squares separated by pathways. The gardens surrounding the mausoleum have nearly 250 different species of plants and flowers, all from different regions of Vietnam. That symbolizes for Vietnamese people to gather around their great father Ho Chi Minh. Especially, the bamboo – the Vietnam traditional trees range on both side can be understood as defenses for this museum.

The embalmed body of President Ho Chi Minh is preserved in the cooler, central hall of the mausoleum, which is protected by a military honor guard. The body lies in a glass case with dim lights. He is wearing the Kaki costume with a pair of rubber sandals.

The coffin is a work of art made by the craft master of the two countries Vietnam – Soviet. Beds are made from bronze with lotus patterns, and placed on a rock pedestal, with automatic lift system.

You can also see the sentence “Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom”, which is a well-known quote by President Ho Chi Minh.

Ba Dinh Square

Ba Dinh Square (Independent Square) is the largest square in Vietnam. Here on September 2nd, 1945 in front of thousands of Vietnamese people, President Ho Chi Minh read the Independence Declaration of Vietnam – marking the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. That is the reason why Ho Chi Minh mausoleum was built here.

Ba Dinh Square has a campus with a length of 320 m and a width of 100 m, with 196 grass plots, alternating with a 1.4 m wide walkway. In the middle of the square is a 25 m high flagpole. This is also the venue for parades on the occasion of Vietnam’s major holidays. In addition, The square has two daily activities are Flag rising ceremony (at 6 a.m) and Flag lowering ceremony (at 9 p.m). It would be a memorable moment if you could see Flag raising ceremony with military men perfectly dressed in their white uniforms, march solemnly in the music of the Vietnamese army at Ba Dinh square at 6am or the Flag lowering ceremony at 9 pm.
This is also a favorite place for the locals to have morning exercise or just simply take a walk around the beautiful square at night.

Ba Dinh square
Ba Dinh square

Presidential Palace

Designed and completed by architect Auguste Henri Vildieu in 1906, the splendid Presidential Palace was originally built for the Governor of Indochina. The construction project started in 1900 and completed in 1906. It was the most fussy and expensive construction at that time. Rock, tile and brick were tailor-made at some factories in Vietnam while fir, window bar, glass… were imported from French and other European countries. When the project was completed, this building had 36 rooms and named Indochina Governor Palace.

In 1954 after 9 more years fighting against the French, Vietnam entirely got independence from French domination. So this building was recalled the Presidential Palace. Uncle Ho was supposed to lived and worked there. However, Ho Chi Minh refused to live in this luxurious and huge building. He decided to stayed at a small house in this garden (House No.54). This palace was only used to welcome foreign delegations and Vietnamese children who came to visit their uncle Ho. Up to now, it’s still for Vietnamese President to welcome many heads of states, high-ranking delegations of various parties and government all over the world.

Ho Chi Minh Presidential Palace
Ho Chi Minh Presidential Palace

Ho Chi Minh Stilt House

The house is located within the garden of the Presidential Palace so visitors and walk to there.

  • Address: No.1 Bach Thao street, Ngoc Ha ward, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi city
  • Opening hours: From 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, with a lunch break from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm.
  • Entrance fee: 25,000 VND for international visitors.

The house is called the Ho Chi Minh’s Residence or Ho Chi Minh Stilt House. The construction is located in the Ho Chi Minh Complex and worth a visit to learn more about one of the greatest people in the 20th century. Because of the simplicity that Uncle Ho’s stilt house in the Presidential Palace has become a symbol of Ho Chi Minh’s style and morality. This house has left a deep impression in the hearts of everyone who has ever been here.

Instead of living in Presidential Palace, Uncle Ho choose to live in simplier place. Upon a visit to the north-west and saw the architecture of traditional stilt houses used by ethnic people, Ho Chi Minh was inspired and asked for a similar design to be his residential place. A new house was built, with a simple wooden layout and only two small rooms – this was the place that Ho Chi Minh spent his life as Vietnam’s president until his death in 1969.

Ho Chi Minh stilt house
Ho Chi Minh stilt house

Architecture of Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House

In appearance, it looks no less different from the traditional wooden house on stilt of ethnic people in Vietnam’s mountainous areas. The stair leads to two small rooms inside the house. Besides, the size of the rooms are quite small, just leaves minimum space for personal living – a proof of the simple taste of Ho Chi Minh.

Ho Chi Minh’s study room is the room furnished with books, old newspaper, typewriter, and a Japanese fan. The sleeping room consists of a simple bed, a vintage-looking telephone, electric clock and old-style radio.

Under the house is an empty space, used as a receiving “office”. Communist Generals and Foreign Guests visiting Ho Chi Minh were invited to sit in simple bamboo chairs. This place also contains some concessions of the raging war at that time as phones to call other departments, steel helmet and other protection against bombing.

Surrounds stilt house is garden and a pond with crystal-clear water and hundreds of carps. This is the place which Ho Chi Minh balance his emotion and mind. The fishes can be fed with only a single crisp clap.

Ho Chi Minh Museum

One of the most resourceful museums in Hanoi and undoubtedly in the country, Ho Chi Minh museum is conveniently located in the Ho Chi Minh complex.

  • Opening hours: Everyday except for Monday and Friday
  • From 8:00-11:30 and from 14:00-16:30
  • Entrance fee: 10,000 (USD 0.50)

The museum has square shape with an ethereal white lotus symbol. Four square blocks on the top floor is just a lotus flower. The stylized 4 square blocks links the architecture of the structure with natural landscape. The artificial circle lake has 18 meters in diameter with bonsai natural stone of Hoa Lu area which create the vibrant scene. In addition, with an area of 18.000 m2, Ho Chi Minh museum become the largest and the most modern in Vietnam. Floor display includes three main space is closely related to each other. The solemn room has 9 meter height, floor is decorated with leaves.

The center sets the bronze statue of Ho Chi Minh with 3.5 meters height and 3 tons weight. Display profile is the basic contents of the Museum. With 8 major topics, they reflect the life and career of President Ho Chi Minh from birth until death. All material, photographs are displayed with a systematic, dynamic in order to help views understand thoroughly and vividness on his life and his career.

The outer space displays themes and sections in order to supply and deepen the display profile which associated with Vietnam’s revolution to the world revolution in the overall process of global revolution.

Ho Chi Minh Museum stores more than 12 thousand documents, artifacts, miniatures and various gifts gathered nationally and internationally. There is also description written in English and France, as well as guided tours on request.

Ho Chi Minh Museum Hanoi
Ho Chi Minh Museum Hanoi

One Pillar Pagoda

Rising from one pillar in the centre of an elegantly square shaped lotus pond, The One Pillar Pagoda is said to represent a lotus flower growing up out of the water.

  • Opening Hours: daily from 08:00-17:00
  • Location: The One Pillar Pagoda is in the park behind the museum near Ba Dinh Square at Ong Ich Kiem Street in the Ba Dinh District. It is also inside Ho Chi Minh Complex.
  • Remarks: Appropriate attire should be worn if you are entering the temple; prayers take place continuously throughout the day. So you can try to pray at The One Pillar Pagoda to  bring about blessings of fertility and health.
One Pillar Pagoda Hanoi
One Pillar Pagoda Hanoi

The legend of One Pillar Pagoda

Legend has it that King Ly Thai Tong (1028 – 1054) was old but he had no son. One night, the King dreamed about Guan Yin Buddha sitting on a lotus, carrying a boy and giving it to the king. Shortly after, the queen gave birth to a son. Then the king built a lotus-shaped pagoda and named it Dien Huu Pagoda. means “long lasting happiness and good luck”

Architect of the pagoda

Emperor Ly Thai Tong had this temple constructed in gratitude for the mentioned significant legendary event in 1049. So he asked for building a temple of lotus-shape, exactly similar to what he saw in the dream. This unique shape of the pagoda together with the special story attract many tourists!

This Pagoda was built of wood on a single stone pillar 1.25 m in diameter and 4m high (not including the part submerged in land). Besides, One Pillar Pagoda has a unique architecture: a square wooden floor, put on a stone pillar in the middle of the pond. Around the stone pillar, there is a system of curved iron wood bars to support the floor; thus the entire structure looks like a lotus upright from the water.
As time went by, the pagoda succumbed to many ravages caused by the colonial powers. In 1954, the French Union forces destroyed the pagoda before withdrawing from Vietnam after the First Indochina War, and it was rebuilt afterwards.

Today’s form: What you see today of the pagoda is a new form recovered in 1955 when it was refurbished with a concrete pillar from its remnants by the Vietnamese government. Today’s structure can be just called the replica of the original pagoda, which was a large building. Locals believe that if you pray here, it will invoke well-beings and prosperity.

The old pagoda was much larger than it is now; through the dynasties, One Pillar Pagoda was rebuilt several times; each restoration, the pagoda and the surrounding landscape was changed.

Tips to visit Ho Chi Minh Complex

  • Dress code and must-know things
  • Short shorts, mini-skirts, sleeveless shirts, tank tops and so on are not allowed.
  • Behavior and attitude: Civilized and polite; don’t make noise or disorder; speak quietly, and stand in queue.
  • Cameras, mobile phones and day packs can’t be taken inside. The guards will collect those things before you enter the mausoleum.
  • No shooting, video recording in restricted areas, especially inside the mausoleum
  • Putting your hands in your pockets and taking photograph is prohibited.
  • Carrying out luggage in accordance with the regulations and arrangements of the management of the mausoleum.
  • Do not carry out food, electronics, jewelry or you may not be allowed to post items.
  • Children under 3 are not allowed to enter.

If you would like to visit this complex, please consider our Hanoi city tour full day.

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