Reunification Palace Saigon

Reunification Palace Saigon : This building was originally known as the Presidential Palace or Independence Hall, and is a classic example of 1960s architecture.

The original building was bombed in 1962 in an attempt by the South Vietnamese Air Force to assassinate President Diem. The assassination attempt failed, but the bombing damaged the building enough for Diem to order it torn down and built anew — not that he ever got to see the finished product as he was murdered before its completion.

The Palace was completed in 1966 and merges classic 60s architecture with the principles of feng shui and Chinese calligraphy. The design of the building is said to represent the Chinese character Hung which means the nation to be prosperous forever.

It was here that Australian photojournalist Neil Davis took the photo of the NVA tank bursting through the gates of the palace as Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese — and barely a thing has been changed since.

Walking the empty hallways and the maze-like bunker system in the basement has a true surrealistic quality to it and we found it oddly reminiscent of the set of The Thunderbirds.

Reunification Hall is also linked to the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City by a series of underground tunnels and bunkers, though these are not open to the public. It was in these tunnels that Diem spent the last hours of his life before fleeing to Cha Tam Church in Cholon and his death.

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