Located about 40 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City , the historic Củ Chi tunnels can surprise anyone who visits them. During the fierce times of war, local people and soldiers miraculously lived and fought for national liberation from the intricate network of underground tunnels. Let’s explore more.

As a soldier who fought in some of the war’s bloodiest battles, Huỳnh Văn Chịa survived with physical scars. At the age of 70, the veteran works at the Cu Chi historical site to help the young generation understand how people fought resolutely around this legendary network of tunnels.

The Cu Chi tunnels stretch a total length of over 250km. They were dug with simple tools and bare hands during the French occupation in the 1940s. This main axis system has many branches connecting to underground hideouts, shelters, and entrances to other tunnels.

The tunnels have three layers with the deepest 10 metres from the surface. The upper soil layer can support the weight of a 50-tonne tank and the damage of light cannons and bombs. The underground network provided sleeping quarters, meeting rooms, hospitals and social areas.

Life in the narrow tunnels was extremely difficult. Food, water and the most important thing – oxygen – were scarce.

E xperiencing the Cu Chi tunnel, visitors can understand the resilience and unyielding will of the people who lived there. The poor but heroic land had to face 21 years of war against well trained troops with full and modern weapons.

In the 1969-1972 period, Cu Chi was called the “barren land” as no animal or flora could live there due to US bombs and Agent Orange/dioxin chemical. However, with intelligent and creative fighting strategies, local soldiers scared and eventually defeated the enemy, contributing to the great victory of the nation.

In order to remember the fallen soldiers of Cu Chi, a worship area was built with 44,379 stone steles.

The historical site has been preserved and become a popular tourism destination, luring thousands of visitors from inside and outside the country every day.-VNA