by Ha Nguyen
|Revolutionary HQ: During the Indochina War, Tan Lap Village in Tan Trao Commune (Son Duong District, Tuyen Quang Province) acted as the base for many Government offices. The village was recently recognised by the Ministry of Culture and Information as an official "Culture and Tourism Village". — VNA/VNS Photo Cam Binh
|Paying respect: Tourists visit Hang Thia Hut at Tan Trao National Historical Site, the work place of revolutionist Pham Van Dong from May 1951 to the end of 1953. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Duc
Viet Nam will celebrate the nation's August Revolution on August 19 and National Day on September 2 with a variety of activities, including performances of songs and plays and a week-long screening of a film about President Ho Chi Minh, the legendary figure who spearheaded the revolution and brought about much of the country's socio-economic development.
Tan Trao, known worldwide as Viet Nam's provisional capital during the national resistance war against French Colonialism, received a certificate recognising it as a National Historical Site on Thursday.
"Receiving this certificate was a big source of pride for Tuyen Quang because it means more and more people - particularly the younger generation - will learn about the place where President Ho Chi Minh worked to lead Viet Nam to independence on September 2, 1945," said Hoang Nhu Loan, director of the Tan Trao Management Board.
Loan said the area had seen an influx of visitors since Thursday, with crowds of tourists arriving hourly in buses and cars.
Among the visitors was a group from HCM City led by Doan Hong Vinh, 80, also a revolutionary veteran.
"Visiting the Na Lua hut was a very moving experience," said Vinh. "Dubbed as Viet Nam's first ‘Presidential Palace', the hut is the site where the President worked with other revolutionaries to direct the General Uprising in August, and establish the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam on September 2."
The group then visited the Tan Trao banyan tree and Tan Trao Communal House, where President Ho and his comrades lived and worked in 1945.
Vinh's grandchild Doan Hong Lam said he was interested in hearing what it was like for President Ho to live and work in such poor conditions.
"My generation didn't get to witness the war and the sacrifices made by our predecessors, but we've learned all about it through books and stories like those told by my grandfather."
"Although we can't visualise the war like my grandfather, we understand that we're celebrating a great achievement gained through sacrifice, to which nothing can compare," Lam said.
Lam, who works as an official in HCM City's Tan Binh Ward, said he disagrees with the notion that today's young people don't pay much attention to national history and tradition.
"The young people at the ward participate actively in social activities in an effort to thank the martyrs and veterans for the many sacrifices they made for the revolution.
"Even when our work keeps us so busy that we don't have enough time to do anything, we keep them in our thoughts," said Lam.
Lam's wife Nguyen Lam Kieu, a director of a seafood company, said she loved being a grandchild in-law of revolutionary veteran Vinh because through Vinh's stories about his comrades and their secret work deep in the jungles, she understood the significance of the historical dates.
"Thanks to the struggles and sacrifices of our people, Viet Nam won independence and freedom from the French colonialists," Kieu said.
She added that the days gave her and her friends a chance to enjoy interesting entertainment programmes about how the revolutionaries and others overcame difficulties to build the nation.
"These days present a great opportunity for young people to learn more about the nation's great history. Meetings that bring together military veterans and youth to discuss their different experiences are a much more vivid source of learning than textbooks. I find the war films to be very moving representations of what our great heroes did," Kieu said.
Tan Trao Commune of Son Duong District, in the northern province of Tuyen Quang, welcomed more than 200,000 visitors last month, said Ngo Quoc Lap, director of the Tan Trao Museum.
To help Tan Trao's sustainable development, Tuyen Quang Province has invested millions of dong in constructing village roads, including 13 roads leading to homestays for tourists.
"Authorities have encouraged local households to decorate their houses with cultural artifacts left by our ethnic ancestors and revolutionaries," said Lap.
Tan Trao now has hotels, restaurants and stilt houses that serve more than 500 visitors at a time, while 200 businesses supply tourism services and souvenirs such as brocade and rattan products, according to Ma Van Tuan, chief of Tan Trao Commune. Tourism has significantly improved the standard of living for many local households and many have even become rich.
"But the most important thing is that the people have come together to develop our economy and no one in our commune suffers from social evils," Tuan said.
Tuyen Quang is filled with historical splendour. Hemmed in by mountains and the Lo River, Tuyen Quang Town enjoys cool weather all year round.
Mong, Dao, Tay, Nung, Cao Lan and other ethnic groups inhabit the mountainous area.
From Ha Noi, travellers follow Highway 2. After Viet Tri, the landscape changes: rising terraced rice fields are interspersed with shrubs and trees, which soon give way entirely to forested hills and then the veritable paradise of the province.
Tan Trao is situated in a small valley in Son Duong District, 40km east of the town.
The commune has the distinction of once being the capital of the revolution of Viet Nam. Prior to the August 1945 Revolution, President Ho Chi Minh established his main revolutionary base here.
Tan Trao hosted the National Congress in August 1945, an event that established a provisional government led by President Ho and later become the centre of anti-French resistance in the 1946-54 war.
You can see the communal house where the National Congress met in August 1945, and a jungle hut where Ho Chi Minh lived from June to August 1945.
There is also a banyan tree under which the troops of General Vo Nguyen Giap often assembled, as did the National Congress members.
Nearby is Bong Cave, where President Ho stayed from 1950 to 1951, and from which he took part in the Second Party Congress in 1951.
The museum showcases various relics of that time, including President Ho's carbine and miniature typewriter. There's also a large three-dimensional electronic map illustrating local resistance operations.
The secluded road to Tan Trao and the areas around the commune have a rugged natural beauty. — VNS