Ho Chi Minh Vietnam Historical & Cultural Vestiges Thong Nhat Conference Hall

Thong Nhat Conference Hall

 Location: Thong Nhat Conference Hall is located on No.106 Nguyen Du Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Characteristic: 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.

 

 After 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.



The 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.

 At 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).



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