Cu Chi, place in a suburban district of Ho Chi Minh City, is located at 70 km towards the North-West from the downtown. Cu Chi is the name of the nux vomica, a plant found everywhere in this area formerly and inhabitants name this area according to this plant. The area is still known under the name "Cu Chi, The Steel Ground" with glorious military exploits in the fights for the peace of the heroic inhabitants.
Coming in Cu Chi, we have the honor to visit the well known vestige of underground tunnel Cu Chi. Dug in a laterite and clay, the tunnel is thus very durable. Located deep under the ground, the tunnel can support the attack of the hard bombardments; and the air is provided by the ventilation holes. It is reasonable to say that the underground tunnel Củ Chi became the very effective defense system of the army and Vietnamese people of this time.
Genesis of the underground tunnel
The tunnel Cu Chi was built about the years 1946 - 1948 by the army and the inhabitants of two communes Tan Phu Trung and Phuoc Vinh An to serve as the shelter and the arsenal. Each village built its tunnel and afterwards, by the need to communicate between villages, the tunnels are linked to form a connected and complicated system. The structure is developed afterwards in several places, especially in the six communes in the North of Cu Chi. The structure of the tunnels was then reformed to hide the army who could communicate between them and to help each other in the battle.
On the ground, the inhabitants still dug a system of tangled up trench binding the tunnels. And the tunnels are also divided into stage and recess. Moreover, on the tunnel, many batteries, mined grounds and trap... were arranged in successive group to form a solid battle field.
Regarding scale, the tunnel is 200 km long on the whole with three stages of respective depth; the first stage is at three meters under the ground; second is at six meters and the last twelve meters. The tunnels were thus become not only the shelter but also the habitat, the hospital, the meeting room and the arsenal.
The underground tunnel Cu Chi nowadays
The vestige of underground tunnel Cy Chi at Phu My Hung commune, Cu Chi district was recognized by the ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism as the national history inheritance in 1979. Today, the tunnel Cu Chi remains yet only 120 km of underground tunnel protected in order to serve as a tourist area for those who visit Ho Chi Minh-City. There, the visitors have the occasion to try out the underground life of the heroic inhabitants in the past.
Today, the vestige is composed of the tunnel system Ben Duoc and Ben Dinh, Ben Duoc temple, the scene of the released place formerly and the green tourism zone at the edge of Saigon river. Ben Duoc temple is built on May 19th, 1993 on a surface of seven hectares. There is in this place a tower of approximately 40 meters long and a stele of 3,7 tons appearing the prose entitled "Eternal Memorizing" of Vien Phuong. There is still the temple consecrated to the 41.000 combatants died on the battle field Saigon - Cho Lon - Gia Dinh.
Once come in Cu Chi, passed the underground tunnels, the visitors will understand better the spirit force of those who built the tunnel. They lived and fought under this ground for the peace and the independence of Vietnam.