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On the west side of Ba Dinh Square, a heavy grey structure, built on stone quarried from Marble Mountain near Danang, is Ho Chi Minh’s last resting place.

An unassuming man, who notably shunned the comforts and trapping of power, Ho Chi Minh had specially requested that he be cremated and his ashes scattered in Northern, Central, and Southern Vietnam, symbolizing the national unity to which he had devoted his life. In keeping with these beliefs, he had also vetoed the construction of a small museum on his life at his home village near Kim Lien, Nam Dan District, Nghe An Province, arguing that the funds could be better employed in building a school. However, after Ho Chi Minh’s death in 1969, the leading members of the Vietnamese politburo altered his final testament by deleting his request to be cremated. Instead, with the help of Soviet specialists, the leader was embalmed and installed at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in 1975.

The building’s exterior is considered by many as both ponderous and unappealing. Astonishingly, the architects apparently intended the structure to represent a lotus flower, though it is difficult to understand how.

Inside, the mood is somber and decidedly respectful, if somewhat overpowering at times. Ho Chi Minh, dressed in simple clothing favored by Chinese nationalist leader Sun Yat Sen, lies in a chilled, dim room, his crossed hands resting on dark cloth covers.

The mausoleum is an important pilgrimage site for many Vietnamese, especially from the north, and should be approached with respect and reverence. Any kind of noisy behavior, loitering, and inappropriate clothing is strictly forbidden.

The Mausoleum is open every morning except for Monday & Friday. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed for 2 months a year for maintenance (Between September & December).

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