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Inside wartime bomb shelter under famous Hanoi hotel

By Vy An, Giang Huy   September 21, 2016 | 04:04 pm GMT+7

Actress Jane Fonda and anti-war activist Tom Hayden were among those to take refuge as the bombs rained down.

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The air raid shelter in the back garden of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi was discovered by chance in 2011 and was opened a year later to guests at the hotel. 

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The hotel now offers two tours into the well-preserved bunker every day, each for up to ten people. The bunker has six iron doors, two wooden doors, a ventilation system and 12 lights.

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The bunker is more than two meters high and contains six rooms which sheltered many famous figures during the Vietnam War, especially the Christmas bombings in 1972, including actress Jane Fonda and anti-war activist Tom Hayden.

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The dark and narrow stairs that lead down to the bunker. The hotel has installed more lights for the exhibition.

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The bunker was built to accommodate up to 40 people.

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Australian diplomat Bob Devereaux scratched his name into the wall on August 17, 1975, after the war was over. He did not quite remember doing so, and suggested that he could have done it while looking for a wine bottle in the then dark and flooded bunker.

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One of the original bulbs was found intact after workers discovered the shelter and pumped water out of it.

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American folk singer songwriter Joan Baez recorded part of her album “Where are you now, my son” inside the shelter during the winter of 1972.

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In 2013, the bunker was granted the Honorable Mention Award by UNESCO for preservation efforts to bring back an almost forgotten historic site.

Photos by Giang Huy

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