Jul 16, 2012

Explore Vietnamese History At Reunification Palace

Reunification Palace Photo

via: hkfuey97

Built on the former site of Norodom Palace in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Reunification Palace (Hoi Truong Thong Nhat), or as it was formerly known, Independence Palace, opened on July 1st, 1962. Independence Palace was the official headquarters, and home of Nguyen Van Thieu (President of South Vietnam) during the Vietnam War.

Today, Reunification Palace is a popular tourist attraction, is used for official and ceremonial events. The Palace serves as a venue that the Vietnamese use to educate their youth on the country’s recent history. With this history all-too-fresh in the minds of its citizens, Reunification Palace holds deep meaning to the Vietnamese.

The Location of The Fall of Saigon

 

Fall of Siagon Photo

via: anaru

The Palace’s gate was the spot at which a North Vietnamese tank broke through on April 30th, 1975, signifying the Fall of Saigon. The building has been maintained and preserved in its original form since that fateful day. The Fall of Saigon is celebrated on April 30th every year at the Palace for Reunification Day.

A Deep Sense of History

 

Inside Reunification Palace

via: Travel Aficionado

History buffs, and those looking to learn more about Vietnamese history will love Reunification Palace. Not much has changed within its grounds in the last 40 years. Reception rooms, formal rooms, private quarters, dining rooms and presidential suites all have a 1960′s feel to them. The rooms feel deserted, like their inhabitants simply picked up and left.

You feel the essence of change, of being transported to a time of uncertainty, to a very real place in history. While personal belongings and documents have been removed from the rooms, the feeling remains. Outside of Reunification Palace you’ll see tanks, helicopters, fighter jets, and a well-manicured lawn, but inside the Palace is where the history lives.

The Basement Steals The Show

 

Basement of Reunification Palace

via: Rock Portrait Photography

 

Reunification Palace Basement Image

via: Joffley

The top floor of Reunification Palace gives you perspective on what the making of history must have felt like in 1975, but the basement is the most interesting section of the tour. The basement of the Palace contains the war command centers, and an underground network of tunnels that were used as bomb shelters. The feeling in the basement is eery. Empty desks, typewriters, maps and other communication equipment sit untouched. A war propaganda film entertains guests near the exit.

Visit On A Weekday Afternoon

Mornings can be busy with tour groups and schoolchildren, the Palace is quieter in the afternoons. A free guided tour takes about one hour, but feel free to tour the Palace on your own.
The entrance fee costs 30,000 VND. Reunification Palace is open from 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM, then 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM Monday – Friday. The palace is closed on the weekends.

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