Thursday, September 20 2018


War bunker opens its doors

Update: December, 21/2012 - 09:31


Deep down: The bunker, located in the Thang Long Citadel Complex in downtown Ha Noi, was built in 1966 with huge cement blocks. It is said that it could even provide shelter from atomic bombs. — VNS Photo
A secret war bunker used by leaders of the Viet Nam People's Army between 1965-75 was officially opened to the public for the first time yesterday.

The bunker, located in the Thang Long Citadel Complex in downtown Ha Noi, was built in 1966 with cement blocks measuring a total of 1,000 cubic metres.

About 300 soldiers were mobilised to work on its construction. It was hidden beneath a communications department building, which was intentionally destroyed, in order to mislead the enemy's bombers.

From under the piles of brick, military leaders worked day and night throughout the American air attacks in the north, commanding the battles in the south, as well as the whole Indochina. In this very bunker, the leaders planned strategy there during the 12 days and nights of heavy US bombings of Ha Noi and Hai Phong in Christmas 1972.

The Thang Long Heritage Protection Centre has fixed the damaged air ventilation, electricity and contacting systems so that the site can be opened to tourists. This is one of a number of events taking place to mark the 40th anniversary of the US B-52 blitz on the capital.

The bunker is now displayed as it used to be in the past with tables and chairs in meeting room, battle maps, photos of the battles, military weapons and uniforms, four telephone cabins for directing the battles.

One of the first visitors to the bunker yesterday was Major General Nguyen Van Ninh, who used to work in the bunker 40 years ago. "I feel so excited to visit my old workplace, where I spent many sleepless nights. This is the most important place for the strategic fight against the enemy," he said with a trembling voice.

"The days we worked in this bunker were so hard but we felt such pride," said Vu Thi Thu Ha, a map specialist working for the army in war time. "We cannot forget the days."

According to Tran Viet Anh, deputy director of the centre, the bunker is most important revolutionary relic within the Thang Long citadel complex, which has been recognised as world heritage by UNESCO. — VNS

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