Museum of Ho Chi Minh City
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Hồ Chí Minh City Museum (Vietnamese language: Viện bảo tàng Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh) is a historical site in Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam. The museum is situated at the corner of Lý Tự Trọng and Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa streets, near Reunification Palace, originally known as Independence Palace.
The building now occupied by the museum was built during the French colonial era and was the residence of high-ranking French colonial officers. Called Gia Long Palace before the fall of Saigon, it was the last residence of President of the Republic of Vietnam Ngô Đình Diệm, beginning 27 February 1962. Diệm had been Prime Minister since 1954, and president since 1955, but originally lived in Independence Palace until it was bombed by two mutinous pilots of the Vietnam Air Force. As a result, Diệm had to relocate, and ordered a new palace to be built, moving to Gia Long Palace in the interim. It was the last place Diệm worked before his assassination on 2 November 1963 in a coup d'etat.
Diệm ordered the construction of three extremely deep underground tunnels leading from the palace to other parts of the city so that he could escape in the event of a coup. During his downfall, Diệm is widely believed to have used one of these escape routes to escape the siege on the palace, which caused considerable damage. He fled to a supporter's house in Cholon but was captured and executed a day later. The successor presidents still worked there until the completion of re-built Independence Palace, now Reunification Palace, in 1966. After the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975, Gia Long Palace was turned into a museum.
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