Reunification Palace, also known as Independence Palace, was the home and workplace of the Presidents of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Having created by the hands and ideas of the Vietnamese, the Reunification Palace has become one of the symbols of Ho Chi Minh City. In 2009, the Reunification Palace was ranked as one of the first 10 special national relics of Vietnam. The palace is one of famous tourist destinations of Ho Chi Minh City, attracting thousands of visitors daily. Also, it is the place to welcome the heads of states.
On 27 February 1962, two pilots of Vietnam Air Force rebelled and flew two A-1 Sky-raider aircraft towards the Norodom Palace and bombed it, instead of going on a raid against the communist North Vietnam forces. However, their assassination attempt was unsuccessful. Then, the palace could not be restored, Ngo Dinh Diem ordered it demolished and built a new one, the Reunification Palace, on its place.
Started on July 1, 1962, and inaugurated on October 31, 1966, the Reunification Palace was built on the ground of the Governor General of Indochina (also known as Norodom Palace designed by a French architect in 1868). It was designed by Vietnamese architect Ngo Viet Thu - the first and only Vietnamese to win the Roman Prize for architecture category. This palace is an architectural masterpiece with the harmonious combination of modern art and traditional Oriental architecture. The building is built on 12 hectares of land with an area of 20,000 square meters, consists of 3 main floors, two mezzanines, a terrace and a basement. The Palace has about 100 rooms decorated in different styles depending on use, comprising of President’s Office in the hall, banquet chamber, Ministers’ cabinet room, conference hall, etc. In the mid-1960s, it was the largest construction site in the South Vietnam and had the highest construction cost. The basement was able to withstand the destructive onslaught of large bombs and artillery.
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The Reunification Palace is 26 meters high, located on a campus with lush green lawns. In the middle of the palace is the fountain, creating the poetic beauty of the building and a pleasant feeling for visitors as soon as they enter. Along the horizontal line of the hall is a semicircle lake in which there are many water lilies evoking the image of peaceful lakes in the ancient temples and pagodas of Vietnam. The front facade of the building made up the shape of "Cat" in Chinese, which means good and lucky. When designing, the architect wanted to find a cultural meaning for the work, so all the decorations, arrangement in terms of the overall from the interior to the outward side symbolizes the traditional philosophy, Oriental cultures, and Vietnamese peoples’ personality. The rooms are decorated with many picturesque riverside paintings, lacquer and oil paintings. The architectural beauty of the palace is also enhanced by the elegant bas reliefs and stone curtains with the shape of the bamboo sticks covering all the front façade of the second floor.
With the cultural and historical values, the Reunification Palace is always the interesting sightseeing place for many domestic and foreign tourists. On Saigon Motorbike City Tour, VN Bike Tour gurarantees that you will have enjoyable experiences of walking on a campus full of greenery, admiring the unique architecture, buying some beautiful souvenirs, and finding out more useful information of the palace in the period of time before and after 1975.