Vinh Moc tunnels – a legendary treasure

(VOV) -Vinh Moc tunnel complex, nowadays infamous as an underground miniaturized village, in the central province of Quang Tri, was the largest tunnel system in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

The system, with its proud history during the US war, has become a widely attractive destination for both domestic and foreign tourists alike.

It lies on the northern part of the Ben Hai River in Vinh Linh, which separates the North from the South at Latitude 17, according to the 1954 Geneva Agreement.

It took two years, from 1965 to 1966, for local villagers and soldiers to remove a total of 6,000 cubic metres of dirt to form the system.

During the Vietnam War, Vinh Linh was a major battlefield suffering the bombardment of 500,000 tonnes of high explosives, perhaps much more, used by US troops.

The 2.8km-long tunnel system is divided into 3 levels of depth – 8-10 metres, 12-15 metres and 23 metres. These levels and branches are connected through a 780m long artery – the backbone of the system.

The tunnels were partly used as living quarters for families, food and ammunition storage, meeting halls of organisations, and places of other public services.

It is postulated that as many as 300 people (about 60 families) lived permanently in the tunnels between 1966-1972, and that 17 children were born in its interior, which has a cumulative total of 13 gates, with 7 of them leading to the sea and the remaining 6 branching out into the hillsides.

With the passage of time, the legendary tunnel system has become a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the Vietnamese fighting spirit and heroism of its people during a difficult period of the nation’s history.

In 1976, the tunnel system was recognized as a national heritage site. In March 2014, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism asked relevant agencies to make a dossier for Vinh Linh underground village and Vinh Moc tunnels to be recognized as special national heritage.

Some photos of Vinh Moc tunnel complex:

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