Ba Dinh Square, Hanoi - review by Rusty Compass
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Ba Dinh Square, Hanoi

| 16 Nov 2011

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Ba Dinh Square, Hanoi
Ba Dinh District Hanoi

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Our rating
16 Nov 2011

Ba Dinh Square is where several of the Hanoi’s most historic sights are located - Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts, Ho Chi Minh Museum, the Presidential Palace and the One Pillar Pagoda. Allow yourself at least a half day for exploration here keeping in mind the mausoleum is only open in the morning.

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Review

Hanoi's Ba Dinh Square is packed with places of interest for travellers. It showcases some of the capital’s finest examples of early twentieth century French colonial architecture. Most importantly though, it’s a shrine to Ho Chi Minh - modern Vietnam's founding father. His former residence, a simple timber house on stilts, as well as the museum and mausoleum dedicated to him are all located in the square.


Photo: Mark BowyerPresidential Palace - Ba Dinh Square, Hanoi
It was in Ba Dinh Square on the 2nd of September 1945 that Ho Chi Minh declared independence for Vietnam. Uncle Ho reasoned that with the French ousted by the Japanese and the Japanese defeated by the Allies fighting alongside his Viet Minh forces, it was finally time for Vietnam to claim its independence.

The French had other ideas though and it wasn’t long before they began to reassert their colonial claims. Vietnam was plunged into thirty more years of war.


Photo: Mark BowyerOne Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi
Ba Dinh square has been at the centre of political life in Vietnam since French times. Directly opposite Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, a new National Assembly building is being built replacing an unsightly Soviet era creation that was recently demolished. The Mausoleum and the Ho Chi Minh Museum are remaining examples of Soviet era architecture in the square.

The The Presidential Palace,  Communist Party offices and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs look over the square from spectacular French colonial era structures.

All the major sights in the square - Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts, his mausoleum, the Ho Chi Minh Museum and the One Pillar Pagoda are essential inclusions in any Hanoi itinerary. Early morning tai chi in the square is also worth a look.

Check out the detail listings for these sights on other Hanoi See and Do pages.
Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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