Hanoi has served for many centuries as the capital for various dynasties of Vietnam. Hanoi is the cultural, political, economic as well as the technological center of the entire country. Today, Hanoi still intensely holds the marks of French colonialism. With its architecture, style and art, this charming city has distinct nostalgic reminders of the old world charm of its once European villages. One establishment that entirely encapsulates the rich history of Vietnam is the Hanoi Army Museum.
The rich heritage of Vietnam and its capital is best reflected in the city’s six national museums, one of which is the Army Museum in Hanoi. The army museum in the capital occupies a special and emotional position among the six national museums mainly because it depicts the rich and intense war history of Vietnam. The museum is then evidence to the armed struggle of the Vietnamese people for decades. These struggles are captured in thousands of exhibit displays in the museum.
The Hanoi Army Museum is spread over a 10,000 square meter area and was found on December 22, 1959. It offers a vivid and fascinating account of the Vietnam War under the leadership of then President Ho Chi Minh and Vietnam’s Communist Party.
Outside the museum are American, Vietnamese and Russian weaponry left behind from the American and French wars. A U.S. helicopter, a plane from the U.S Air Forces and other assortments of military arsenal such as cannons can be found. Although the Russian jet fighter will instantly catch your attention upon entering the museum, the entire museum is worth the peek. The display inside the museum is mostly composed of maps, military weapons, scale models and personal belongings of individuals associated with the war. It also displays a broad collection of the remains of military wars such as fighter jets, tanks, anti-aircraft missiles and remarkable wreckage of a French driven jet plane and a fascinating U.S B52 bomber that were blasted in the Hanoi area. The tank that bombed through the Saigon gates during the battle for independence can also be seen in the museum. The best part of the museum is that all items being displayed are accompanied by English translations, which becomes a huge relief for English-speaking tourists who want to learn more about Vietnam’s rich history.
The military museum is found just opposite the park where an adorned statue of Lenin can be found. Located along Dien Bien Phu Street, the museum is open to visitors from 9 to 11 in the morning and 2 to 4 in the afternoon during Tuesdays to Thursdays and on weekends. The Hanoi Flag Tower, which is a national historical and cultural monument, also shares the same grounds as the Army Museum. The construction of the 31-meter high tower was started and finished back in year 1812.
An understandable nationalistic pride is noticeable in the museum as most of the exhibit displays various accounts of the defeat of the invaders. Nevertheless, the Hanoi Army Museum encapsulates Vietnam’s struggle for peace, independence and freedom of the nation.