Posted by: hoz49 | March 25, 2008

The Reunification Palace Saigon

We also visited the Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City . The Palace has a long history but was the home and workplace of the presidents of South Vietnam during the “American War”. We all saw the palace in the news when Saigon surrendered and Viet Cong tanks crashed through the gates. Today it has been restored and is offered as a tourist attraction.

Tung, our guide, seemed very proud of the building and even though we were foot weary from our tour of the CuChi Tunnels we persevered to view all four floors, the roof AND the basement. The elegant life lived by the presidents while the war raged also included a secret stairway and tunnel passage that would allow quick retreat should they be threatened.

A large and prestigious building, we all remarked how the Palace is so elegant and well planned . Though located in a hot, humid, tropical climate all areas, with the exception of the Presidential living quarters, are not air conditioned. The public areas are open to the outside, inviting the lightest of zephyrs to enter. The Palace seems cool and inviting no matter where you are in the building.

Cabinet meeting room

Diplomat waiting room w/Presidential suite through elephant tusks

Vice President suite

We visited the auditorium where congress and interested parties gathered. It is decorated with green chairs, white walls, and dark mahogany wood tables and trim. With the red Communist flag and star and a golden bust of Ho Chi Minh prominently displayed, it is a dramatic space.

On stage of the auditorium

looking out towards the seats

On the fourth floor is the Presidents living quarters. An atrium allows sunlight to illuminate a bonsai garden.

Two Maidens mural

Helicopter on rear roof pad. Used by President on tours of Vietnam.

The two red spots on deck is where two Vietnamese pilots dropped bombs in 1962

leading to US involvement in Vietnam

The tanks that crashed through the gates April 30, 1975

Front lawn and restored gates

In contrast to the rest of the Palace is the basement, where the war, communications and map rooms are located. This area is all painted grey and is starkly furnished opposed to the building above. It seems depressing down there as I could imagine Generals gathering information and planning their escapes when the final moments of the war came.

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