Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
History and museums
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (Vietnamese: Lăng Chủ tịch Hồ Chí Minh) is a large memorial in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is located in the centre of Ba Dinh Square, which is the place where Vietminh leader Ho Chi Minh, Chairman of the Communist Party of Vietnam from 1951 until his death in 1969, read the Declaration of Independence on 2 September 1945, establishing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Ba Đình Mausoleum (Vi: Lăng Ba Đình, an alternative name Vietnamese use to refer to the mausoleum) was ranked as the "sixth most ugly" building in the world by CNN International in 2012.
Construction work began on 2 September 1973, and the structure was formally inaugurated on 29 August 1975. The mausoleum 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" (Chairman Ho Chi Minh) inscribed across it. The banner beside says "Nước Cộng Hòa Xã Hội Chủ Nghĩa Việt Nam Muôn Năm" (en: "State of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam forever").
The structure is 21.6 metres (70.9 feet) high and 41.2 metres (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.
The embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh is preserved in the cooled, central hall of the mausoleum, which is protected by a military honour guard. The body lies in a glass case with dim lights. The mausoleum is closed occasionally while work is done to restore and preserve the body but is normally open daily from 09:00 to 12:00 to the public. Lines of visitors, including visiting foreign dignitaries, pay their respects at the mausoleum every day.
Rules regarding dress and behaviour are strictly enforced by staff and guards. Legs must be covered (no shorts or miniskirts). Visitors must be silent, and walk in two lines. Hands must not be in pockets, nor arms crossed. Smoking, drinking, eating, photography and video taping are also not permitted anywhere inside the mausoleum.