The square adjacent to the Ho Chi Minh complex is called Ba Dinh square, where many important national historical events in modern history took place.
Ba Dinh Square is the most famous square in Vietnam, located on Hung Vuong street, Ba Dinh district and it is where the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was built. Ba Dinh Square is now the largest square in Vietnam with a length of 320 meters and a width of more than 100 meters, large enough for 20 thousand people to attend meetings. The square has 240 squares of green grass, representing the image of the mats on the yard in the old Vietnamese communal houses. Located in the center of the square is a 30-meter-high flagpole. This is a place to witness many great events of the country.
Previously, this place was an area in the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. In King Gia Long’s Dynasty, in 1808, the citadel was demolished to rebuild a much smaller one to serve as the capital of Bac Thanh. Ba Dinh Square area today corresponds to the west gate of the new citadel which was renamed Hanoi citadel by King Minh Mang in 1831.
It borders Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in the west, the Central Vietnam Communist Party Office in the north, and Ba Dinh Hall in the east where the National Assembly, the Party Central Committee, and many other national meetings are held. Especially, in the northwest corner of the square is the Presidential Palace and in the southeast corner is the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ba Dinh Square was named by Dr. Tran Van Lai, Mayor of the city from July 20 to August 19, 1945. Mayor Tran Van Lai named Ba Dinh because he always admired the Dinh Cong Trang anti-French soldiers at the Ba Dinh base in Nga Son district, Thanh Hoa province in the late nineteenth century. Hence, its name is very meaningful, expressing the patriotism of the nation throughout the long history of the country.
The square was originally developed by the French colony and also known as Rond Point Pugininer. On September 2nd, 1945 – now Vietnam National Day – Ho Chi Minh President read the Vietnam Independence Declaration here. In the Declaration, he quoted the French and United States’s Independence Declarations that “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Afterward, Ba Dinh Square has been also known as Independence Square.
On that day, all the streets of Hanoi capital were dyed by the colorful flags, flowers, and slogans welcoming the unique event of the nation. Those who had the opportunity to witness the sacred moment of history surely could not forget the atmosphere and the background of the Ba Dinh Independence Square that year.
Representatives from all social sectors, including workers, youth, educators, and soldiers, cheered over the country’s unity and independence in that historical moment. About 24 years later, the square also hosted the funeral of Ho Chi Minh. It was then decided by the Vietnamese government that Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum would be built on the square so that the national hero could be forever remembered.
Events & Activities
Nowadays, Ba Dinh square is one of the few unoccupied green areas of urban Hanoi capital. Also, many important events such as parades and commemoration of veterans take place at the square. Interestingly, despite its daytime solemnity, during the night time, the square is a popular gathering place for the local people who want to wander, exercise, or hang out, etc.
Besides the old architecture, some of the works built around the square are Ba Dinh Hall (completed in 1963), Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (completed in 1975), Ho Chi Minh Museum (completed in 1990), and Monument to the Heroes of martyrs sacrificing for the Fatherland (completed in 1994).
In addition to the large works as above, in the architectural complex in Ba Dinh Square, there are some important and meaningful works such as One Pillar Pagoda and the relics of Presidential Palace. These works have contributed to the particularly important meaning of the architectural complex of Ba Dinh Square. Also, the emergence of the nearby Thang Long Citadel has made the area more sacred and valuable than ever. Therefore, on the weekdays, a visit to Ba Dinh Square can be combined as a day or half-day trip to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Museum, and One-pillar Pagoda as well.
Through historical events, Ba Dinh Square has become a close, sacred name and the pride of Hanoi people in particular and the nation in general. If you like the place, don’t hesitate to like and share this with others. Hope you can save a wonderful time here in your Vietnam tours. Thank you.