Dien Bien - Heroic Land

12:17:55 PM | 28/4/2014

Visiting Dien Bien, all of us feel like we are standing on holy ground. This land marks the glorious victory and heroic sacrifice of our ancestors for the peace we enjoy today. Late poet To Huu uttered on the Victory Day: “Three thousand days in this resistance war - No other day is happier than tonight - In the historic night Dien Bien is blazing - On the country as a medal on our chest - Our people are a heroic people."
Dien Bien, nearly 500 km from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a place name not only going down in the history of Vietnam but also in the history of the modern world. Dien Bien Phu Victory is “resounding throughout five continents, stirring up the world." The victory produced a world-shaking effect and is known around the world. Sixty years after that historic victory day, this heroic land has revived and thrived from enormous heart-breaking losses and carried the look of a prosperous land.
Situated on the flat Muong Thanh field and by the Nam Rom River, Dien Bien is nestled in the broad valley surrounded by majestic craggy mountains. Dien Bien is also home to 21 ethnic groups with unique customs and practices that form the unique cultural identity of this land. In addition to worm wine, bitter bamboo shoots, dried buffalo meat and brocades, you will also sense an extremely valuable specialty here - hospitality. The combination of historical monuments with cultural and ethnical identity and imposing nature has turned this place into a heroic land, an exciting and meaningful destination for all tourists.
Dien Bien Phu Campaign Command, a relic in Muong Phang, is just about 40 km from Dien Bien City. The route to the historical site still lies pristine forests teeming with Vernicia Montana flowers. The Command is where legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap gave directives and orders to launch assaults on Dien Bien Phu Fortress, which ended in our victory on May 7, 1954. The Campaign Headquarters is a makeshift defence system, including trenches, camps and barracks made from of simple materials like trees, bamboo and leaves easily found everywhere here. The Command was built in the following order, starting with look-out posts the farthest away from the barracks, shacks and underground hideouts of information agencies, led by Director Hoang Dao Thuy; and shacks and trench shelters of Commander in Chief, General Vo Nguyen Giap and Chief of Staff Hoang Van Thai. Although being restored several times, this place retains its original historical value and is an invaluable tourism resource of Dien Bien.
In the east of Dien Bien City, Hill A1 (in Muong Thanh Ward), is the most important point of the entrenched fortress built by French colonists. The high post protects the eastern section, and together with other high posts, forms a shielded front line to guard and protect the Muong Thanh Headquarters. To destroy this high point, our sappers and miners dig deep into the hill and under entrenched bunkers of the enemy force and place nearly one ton of explosives to blow them up. Visiting Hill A1, you will witness fortified command bunkers, criss-crossing underground tunnel systems, and supply networks of the French army. You will see French tanks destroyed by our army in mission and a funnel-shaped hole - the trace of the massive dynamite explosion carried out by our army. The explosion paralysed the defence system and forces on Hill A1 and weakened the fighting capacity of the French army in the entrenched fortress.
You will feel more proud of the indomitable fighting will of our ancestors when you visit the “De Castries” command shelter. Sixty years ago, this place was the headquarters of this so-called impregnable stronghold solidly built with the best materials and protected by the most modern weapons and military equipment of that time. In this bunker, Major General Christian de Castries and his staff mapped out strategies and tactics in order to destroy our army, but confronted tempestuous attacks from our army. For then, on May 7, 1954, the national flag was planted on the roof of the headquarters tunnel. General Christian de Castries and his staff were arrested.
Historical sites like Dien Bien Phu Cemetery, Hill D1 Victory Monument, Muong Thanh Bridge and Muong Thanh Airport are historical evidence that record a majestic period of our heroic nation. Ban Thu Rampart - a relic built in Dien Bien nearly 300 years ago - is an engineering miracle of Hoang Cong Chat, a brilliant leader of peasant insurgency. This rampart, situated in Noong Het commune, Dien Bien district, about 9 km from Dien Bien City, defended against military attacks performed by the corrupt Le Dynasty and foreign invaders. This fortress site is now a temple worshipping Hoang Cong Chat and six generals of insurgent peasants who led people in Muong Thanh (then called Muong Then) to fight against the corrupt administration and liberate the land from the occupation of Phe enemy. It will be a big miss if you forget to drop in on this rampart when you visit Dien Bien.
As a meeting point of history, Dien Bien still keeps remains and relics of the heroic deeds of our ancestors. A period of 60 years is long enough for continuous endeavours of the people in this sacred land. Present-day Dien Bien is attempting to overcome difficulties to become the most favourite tourist destination in the northwest mountainous region of Vietnam by upholding the tradition of forefather generations.
Ha Thu