Guidebook Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi

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Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi

In the tradition of Lenin, Stalin and Mao, the mausoleum is “a monumental marble edifice,” says Lonely Planet. Set in sprawling Ba Dinh Square, where Ho Chi Minh read out the Declaration of Independence in 1945, “this is easily Hanoi’s most popular attraction, at least when it comes to something you need to queue for,” observes Travelfish. “While the room is small, the austere mausoleum itself is huge. Built between 1973 and 1975 with Soviet assistance and modelled after the one in Moscow where Lenin is on display, it’s more brutalist in style than anything else and the approach, particularly given how slow it is, is all rather dramatic.”

This is more than “a tourist jaunt” for thousands of Vietnamese, explains Mike Whittle in The Telegraph. “The queue of people whose lives had been spent toiling in paddy fields and factories, under the rule of foreign powers, had come to pay respect to the man who had led them to change all that,” he writes. I saw “elderly and frail people leaning on the arms of a son or daughter, some were being pushed in village-made wheelchairs … for many it was their first time visiting the capital city.” Some had “saved for years, travelled two days and queued two hours to pay their respects and be in his presence for that one silent minute.”

“Considering how long he’s been lying here, Vietnam’s founding father is looking pretty good,” says Travelfish. “The body is dimly lit, and visitors have only a short time to look at it as they are shuffled through the mausoleum,” notes Atlas Obscura, adding that it is rumored the casket “contains just a model of Ho, since even an embalmed body would eventually decay, which Ho’s body has not.” Not so, says Travelfish: “teams of experts from Russia still visit regularly to consult and help out with his preservation.”

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