Thong Nhat Conference Hall
Location: Thong Nhat Conference Hall is located on No.106 Nguyen Du Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Thong Nhat Conference Hall, also called Reunification Hall or
Presidential Palace, was built in 1865 on the grounds of Norodom Palace
as a residence for the French Governor General of Cochinchina.
1954, Ngo Dinh Diem and his family lived in the Norodom Palace. In
February 1963, a dissident launched an air bombardment and heavily
damaged it. Diem rebuilt the palace, which was later replaced by another
one, called the Independence Palace. It was designed by Western-trained
architect Ngo Viet Thu. The construction was undertaken by Saigon
engineers and was completed in 1966. |
five-story building consists of 100 rooms and chambers decorated with
the finest modern Vietnamese arts and crafts. The ground floor room has a
boat-shaped table that was often used for conferences. Upstairs, a room
called Phu Dau Rong was where Nguyen Van Thieu received foreign
delegations. The residential quarters are in the back of the building.
On the third floor, there is a card-playing room. This floor also
possesses a terrace with a heliport where a helicopter is parked. The
fourth floor was used for dancing, and even had a casino. The most
interesting part of the building is probably the basement containing a
network of tunnels, a telecommunication centre, and a war room.
11h30 on 30 April 1975, the palace was overrun by Liberation Army
tanks. Duong Van Minh, who was president at that time, together with his
45-member cabinet, surrendered unconditionally. After the liberation of
Saigon, the Independence Palace was turned into the Headquarters of the
Municipal Military Administrative Committee. In December 1975, the
palace welcomed a conference for national reunification. To mark the
historical significance of the event, the building was renamed Thong
Nhat Conference Hall (Reunification Conference Hall).