President Ho Chi Minh Monument relic site

Everyone who has ever set foot in Co To and stood in front of Uncle Ho Monument feels moved and proud because Co To was the only place where Uncle Ho allowed to build his statue during his lifetime.
In January 1962, Uncle Ho returned to the mining area. The leaders of Hai Ninh province, led by Mr. Hoang Chinh - Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee, told Uncle Ho about the people's aspiration to erect his statue on Co To island so that they would see Uncle Ho every day. Uncle Ho met that desire and allowed Hai Ninh province to erect a statue of him on Co To island.
With Uncle Ho's permission, the Quang Ninh Provincial Administrative Committee decided to build President Ho Chi Minh monument and memorial site on Co To island. The Department of Culture and Information was assigned to be the managing unit in collaboration with the Architecture Department and the Administrative Committees of Cam Pha District (now Van Don District), and Co To Commune to launch the construction. However, in 1964 - 1968 period, the US imperialists intensified their war to destroy the North by air and navy, Quang Ninh mining area was one of their key bombardments, so the plan of erecting a monument and a memorial site of President Ho Chi Minh on Co To island could not be implemented immediately.
In 1968, construction works began to be carried out. Mr. Nguyen Van Que, an officer of the Office of Culture and Arts (Department of Culture) was assigned to design Uncle Ho's statue. Nguyen Van Que, Nguyen Duc Nuu - another officer of the Office of Culture and Arts (Department of Culture) and Le Van Minh from the Fine Arts Workshop (under Quang Ninh Fine Arts and Handicrafts Company) were assigned to build the statue.
The period when the sculptors made Uncle Ho's statue also saw the US imperialists’ escalating the war to destroy the North. Therefore, the work of making the frame - core and the outer mold of the statue was carried out at the evacuation place in Dong Dinh village, Son Duong commune, Hoanh Bo district (now Ha Long). The frame and the core of the statue were made of clay while the outer mold was made of gypsum mixed with jute threads. After creating the frame - core, the sculptors used gypsum mixed with jute threads to make the outer mold. The outer mold was made piece by piece, each weighing about 20 - 30kg, the big ones had less details while the small ones had more. After the outer mold was finished, it was transferred to the ship to be transported to Co To island. Arriving at Co To beach, the border guards were waiting to transfer the mold ashore. The statue was erected with the height of 1.8m, which was 4m including the pedestal already built on the beach, at the position Uncle Ho stood and talked to Co To soldiers and people in the past. The statue consisted of 4 blocks. After assembling the pieces of the mold, people poured concrete, waited for it to solidify, then poured the next block. The statue showed the upper body of Uncle Ho standing on the podium talking to Co To people. He wore the familiar khaki shirt, with gentle face and eyes, majestic standing, left hand lightly touching the edge of the podium, right hand raised high to greet the people, the palm facing towards the people and the sea in front. That standing posture and that raised arm were a sign of cordial greetings and determination to win as well as the trust that Uncle Ho sent to officers, soldiers and people who were clinging to the sea and islands day and night.
On the occasion of Uncle Ho's 78th birthday (May 1968), Co To island seemed to have a festival. The people of other islands flocked here with flowers, flags and banners to celebrate Uncle Ho's birthday and the inauguration of Uncle Ho's statue on Co To island. On May 22, 1968, after the work was completed, Quang Ninh Culture and Information Department handed it over to Co To commune, and Cam Pha district (now Van Don district) to put it into use and promote its value. The administrative committee of Co To commune (now the People's Committee of Co To district) was responsible for protecting the statue, introducing to and serving visitors.
In 1974, with the consent of the Ministry of Culture and Information (now the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism), the Administrative Committee of Quang Ninh province decided to invest in embellishing the President Ho Chi Minh memorial site on Co To island and erecting a statue of Uncle Ho's full body. Sculptor Nguyen Phuoc Sanh who was then Dean of the Department of Sculpture at Hanoi University of Fine Arts (Rector of Ho Chi Minh City University of Fine Arts from 1975 to 1991) took charge of designing the statue of Uncle Ho this time. The builders were architects Vuong Ngoc Bao and Mo Lo Kai from the National Fine Arts Workshop. The statue replaced the old one erected in 1968, which was then brought into the center of Cam Pha district (now Van Don district) and placed in the museum yard at the outdoor theater area. The work items began to be deployed in early 1975 and completed in May 1976, right on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of Uncle Ho's visit to the island and the 86th anniversary of his birthday.
In 1995, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the national reunification, the 50th anniversary of Uncle Ho’s reading the Declaration of Independence giving birth to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the 1st anniversary of the establishment of Co To island district, the historical relic of President Ho Chi Minh memorial site on Co To island was embellished into the most spacious cultural-historical address on the island. This time’s statue was created by sculptor Nguyen Phuoc Sanh, a lecturer at Hanoi University of Fine Arts. In 1997, given the degradation of the reinforced concrete statue of President Ho Chi Minh due to the marine climate with high humidity, salinity and intense sunlight, the competent authorities decided to upgrade the statue by keeping the original model but converting the material from reinforced concrete to monolithic stone. Uncle Ho's statue was 4.18m high and placed on a 2.8m-high pedestal covered with granite. The statue showed the image of Uncle Ho standing, wearing a khaki shirt fluttering in the wind and simple rubber sandals with smiling face, gentle eyes facing the sea, left hand relaxed and closed naturally along the body, right hand raised as if waving to the ships to Co To harbor and holding the land and people. This image reminded and encouraged the determination to build the island district to become richer and stronger, contributing to firmly protecting the country's sovereignty over sea and islands. In the same year, the relic was ranked as a national historical relic (May 7, 1997).
Up to now, Uncle Ho monument on Co To island is still considered the most beautiful statue in the Northeast of the country. The monument of Uncle Ho - "the soul of Co To island" is both majestic and dear. It stands proudly in the midst of the vast sea and sky of Co To. The image of Uncle Ho "waving to the sea" becomes very familiar and engraves into the heart of every Co To islander as a guard of the locals as well as the sky and islands of Vietnam. Around Uncle Ho's statue is a system of squares planted with commemorative trees by the leaders of the Central and Provincial authorities in harmony with the space and landscape.
Behind the statue is a stele marking the President Ho Chi Minh’s visit to Co To island on May 9, 1961. The stele is placed on a three-level platform built of bricks, covered with washed pebbles, each level is 0.2m high. It has a rectangular shape with a curved forehead. The stele is made of green stone, 2.25m high and 1.55m wide. The edge of the stele is decorated with lotus pattern, the forehead is decorated with clouds, and the center is engraved with a yellow five-pointed star surrounded by a circle. The two sides of the stele are flat. The front of the stele is engraved with the words: "Here, at 8a.m. on May 9, 1961, the helicopter that brought Uncle Ho to visit Co To Island landed. Uncle Ho stepped down from the helicopter, smiled and waved to cadres, soldiers and people of all ethnic groups on the island who were happy to welcome him".