The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the tomb where the body of Ho Chi Minh resides. Ho Chi Minh was leader, first Prime Minister and then President, of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam from 1945 to 1969, and the driving force behind the effort to attain Vietnamese independence from France and thereafter unify the country.
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is open to visitors from 07:30 to 10:30 on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays and from 07:30 to 11:00 at the weekends. Admission is free but the rules visitors must follow are strict. No cameras are allowed inside, legs and shoulders must be covered, and no talking or pointing is allowed. Pointing is considered very rude in many South East Asian countries.
About the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was constructed between 1973 and 1975 following the death of Ho Chi Minh in 1969. Ho Chi Minh had expressed a wish to be cremated and his ashes scattered across Vietnam, in keeping with the values he espoused of renouncing personal wealth.
Controversy around the Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh opted to live in a small wooden house on stilts in the ground of the nearby Presidential Palace and it is unlikely that he would have approved of his body being kept in grand mausoleum. Nonetheless, the regime that followed after Ho Chi Minh died decided to construct a tomb for him similar to Lenin’s Tomb in Moscow, and the body of Ho Chi Minh is sent annually to Russia for the same preservation work that that keeps Lenin’s body in condition which means it can be view by the public. Lots of Vietnamese people come to visit Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum to view the body of the famous independence leader who appears, even half a century after his death, to be genuinely revered by the majority of Vietnamese people.
Design of the Mausoleum
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum building sits on base which is 41.2 wide, and the roof of the tomb is 21.6 metres above street level. The exterior of the building is constructed from grey granite with columns on all four sides giving this imposing building more than a passing resembling to the Parthenon in Athens, albeit a rectangular version of the Parthenon with square columns rather than round Doric columns.
Location of the Mausoleum
The location of the Mausoleum is notable too. The Mausoleum sits on the edge of Ba Dinh Square, one of the few large public spaces in the city, opposite the Vietnamese Parliament building and near the symbolically important One Pillar Pagoda. This is a tomb fit for a Roman Emperor and Ho Chi Minh himself most likely would have hated it for that reason.