Photographer's Note

There are many beautiful buildings in Hanoi. I wouldn't regard this as one of them, but it has nevertheless an important place in the modern history of Vietnam.

This is the mausoleum of former North Vietnamese President and Communist party leader Ho Chi Minh (Hồ Chí Minh; 1890–1969). Ho Chi Minh, often referred to as Bác Hồ, "Uncle Ho", is still venerated by millions of people in mainly northern Vietnam (but most probably not by all) as the father of the nation.

Ho is said to have expressed his wish to be cremated after his death, but the leaders following him decided to treat him like Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong. His body was embalmed and later displayed in this building which was opened in 1975.

I decided to behave like a true tourist, so I joined the queue of people waiting to see Uncle Ho. A few years earlier I had seen the embalmed remains of Mao Zedong in Beijing. From maybe five meters' distance Mao looked very much like a wax figure created at Madame Tussauds. Ho Chi Minh made a similar strange impression. He didn't look quite... real.

The mausoleum is located in a large park in the northern part of central Hanoi. In the same area the Presidential Palace is located, as well as the simple stilt house Ho chose as his home for the last 11 years of his life. Nearby is one of Vietnam's most famous Buddhist temples, the small One Pillar Pagoda, built in the 11th century, destroyed by the retreating French colonial forces in 1954 but rebuilt after the Vietnamese had regained control of their country.

Everywhere in this area you can meet large groups of people visiting the sacred places.

All photos were scanned from Kodachrome slides, and they were all severely affected by the dull weather in northern Vietnam in the autumn.

For the title I was of course inspired by the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Here is a larger version.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12708 W: 572 N: 24321] (103596)
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