The three-meter tall statue of the late President Ho Chi Minh in its current location in the small park in front of the headquarters of the city's People's Committee in District 1. It will be relocated to District 3 and replaced by a new one more than twice as tall. Photo by Diep Duc Minh.
Ho Chi Minh City authorities are planning to build a new bronze statue of the late President Ho Chi Minh to replace the current one that has been a District 1 landmark since 1990.
The new statue is set to be installed by April 30, 2015, which will be the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.
Nguyen Thanh Rum, director of HCMC Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism tasked with implementing the project, said the entire area surrounding the new statue would be renovated, including the front of the headquarters of the city People's Committee, two sidewalks and all the buildings on Nguyen Hue Street, where the new statue will be located.
He said the new statue will be located in the small park where the old one currently is, but farther from the city's administration headquarters and closer to the center of Nguyen Hue Street.
The old statue depicting President Ho Chi Minh sitting near a girl will be moved to the HCMC Children's House, a community center in the adjacent District 3, instead of a location in District 2 as originally had been planned because work on that site has yet to be completed, he said.
The Children's House will also be renovated to make room for the old statue. Current structures will be removed and more trees planted.
HCMC authorities are holding a competition among university graduates with degrees in sculpting, painting and architecture to design the new statue.
The project, which was approved last November by the HCMC People's Committee, will cost an estimated VND30 billion (over US$1.4 million), Rum said.
"Ho Chi Minh City is named after Uncle Ho (President Ho Chi Minh), so [we] need another statue that is more meaningful," he said.
However, many netizens say a new statue is unnecessary and a waste of money, saying the current statue is familiar to local residents and its location is "rational."
The new statue will be 6.3 meters tall, including a 1.8-meter base. Meanwhile, the old one, also made of bronze, is less than half that height including its granite base. It was designed by Vietnamese sculptor Diep Minh Chau and was installed in 1990 on the occasion of President Ho Chi Minh's 100th birthday.
Chau (1919-2002) drew dozens of pictures of the late President and sculpted over 30 statues of him.
Ho Chi Minh City Hall was built 1898-1908 in the style of French colonial architecture and has been used as the headquarters of the HCMC People's Committee since the Vietnam War ended in 1975.
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam's foremost revolutionary leader and the country's founding president, was born Nguyen Sinh Cung in 1890 in the north-central province of Nghe An.
He is known worldwide for leading Vietnam to independence against the French colonialists and the American imperialists.
Statues of Uncle Ho, as he is known in Vietnam, are displayed not only in his home country, but throughout the world, including in Argentina, Cuba, Madagascar, the Philippines and Russia.
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