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Forgotten bunker provides glimpse of wartime Hanoi

[ 2012-10-12 11:04] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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From Hollywood starlets to scruffy trade union delegations, an unassuming reinforced concrete bunker under a central Hanoi hotel has sheltered Vietnam's most important wartime guests.

Sealed off and forgotten after hostilities ended in 1975, the dank subterranean passages were unearthed during recent renovation work at the hotel, now favored by foreign tourists and wealthy Vietnamese.

"I felt a little bit like Indiana Jones discovering the Temple of Doom or something," said Kai Speth, general manager of the Metropole Hotel, describing when he first entered the seven-room bunker, which was knee-deep in water.

There were always rumors that the bunker, no more than 20 square meters in size, was under the swimming pool bar, he said.

"So I told the team when we were rebuilding the foundations of the bar: 'Let's dig a little deeper'."

The bunker was built in 1968 when the hotel, then known as the Thong Nhat, was a drab, government-run establishment used by the authorities to house visiting delegations, including a string of prominent US anti-war activists.

Actress Jane Fonda and folk singer Joan Baez both used the shelter. Baez recorded a song in it during the Christmas bombings in December 1972, when the United States dropped some 20,000 tons of ordnance in 11 days.

The bunker at the Metropole, which will be preserved in its original state and is open for tours for guests, is one of thousands of similar bomb shelters dug across Hanoi during the decades-long conflict.


1. What is the name of the city where the bunker is housed?

2. When did hostilities end in Vietnam?

3. Which folk singer recorded a song in the bunker?


1. Hanoi.

2. 1975.

3. Joan Baez.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Forgotten bunker provides glimpse of wartime Hanoi

About the broadcaster:

Forgotten bunker provides glimpse of wartime Hanoi

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.