Located at Con Dao District, Hang Duong Cemetery is considered as one of the biggest and most famous cemeteries in Vietnam. This is the burial place of thousands of revolutionaries and Vietnamese patriots through many imprisonment generations, which lasted from 1862 to 1975. They died under the brutality of the guards and harsh living conditions at the prison. Participating in any Con Dao tours, tourists will certainly not forget to visit Hang Duong Cemetery to light incense rods in memory of the faithful revolutionaries and Vietnamese patriotic who were permanently rest in peace here. Each grave is considered as an evidence of the heroic and tragic period having passed.
Thanks to its historical significance, Hang Duong Cemetery is one of the must-see tourist attractions in Con Dao. The cemetery is one of the oldest martyrs cemeteries in Vietnam. Since the date of the French occupying Con Dao in 1861 and founded prison to imprison, exile, torture and murder tens of thousands of revolutionary fighters, Hang Duong Cemetery was officially born. In this cemetery, there are 1,913 graves divided into four zones, namely A, B, C, D zone. A, B and C zones are home to old burial grounds, whereas zone D is used for new graves. Of the 1,913 graves in the cemetery, there are only 793 graves retaining specific addresses and names of the martyrs, the rest are anonymous graves. In 1992, Hang Duong Cemetery was embellished with the current scale. In 2005, the monument at the cemetery was officially inaugurated.
During the construction and existence of more than 100 years, Con Dao is home to imprison tens of thousands of patriotic soldiers. With the brutal torture policy, it saw about two thousand soldiers having laid down. It is one of main reasons why Con Dao is called "hell on earth". Among them, there are the tombs of the famous patriots such as patriot Nguyen An Ninh, the grave of Mr. Le Hong Phong, Vo Thi Sau... These tombs are often relatively large; meanwhile other tombs are identically built. The special arrangement of tombs in Hang Duong Cemetery is one of the unforgettable imprints to tourists when participating in Con Dao tours.
As one of the most significant Con Dao attractions, Hang Duong martyrs cemetery along with historical monuments in Con Dao is ranked as Special National Monument. This is the sacred land of marking unyielding struggle of heroes, revolutionary soldiers and Vietnam people in two resistance wars against French colonialists and US imperialists. It is "red address" educating revolutionary tradition for the younger generations. Discovering Hang Duong Cemetery is one of most impressive things to do in Con Dao. Tourists will surely get unforgettable experiences.
Referring to Hang Duong Cemetery, it will be a big deficiency if it fails to mention Ms. Vo Thi Sau - a national heroine. Her sacrifice has become an immortal legend. Ms. Sau was taken to the island on 21 January, 1952 on a train with 40 political prisoners and 3 death row inmates. On 23 January 1952, she had been shot and buried in Hang Duong Cemetery. Ms. Vo Thi Sau is the only and first female prisoner in Con Dao. In particular, the stories surrounding her tombstones are impressions tourists should experience when exploring Con Dao travel to Hang Duong Cemetery. Ms. Vo Thi Sau’s heroic sacrifice becomes the sacred on indomitable will of Communists before the enemy. Her heroism until the last minutes has made a sacred part of Hang Duong Cemetery and become an important part of the spiritual life of the people in Con Dao today.
Most specially, perhaps no cemetery in Vietnam but Hang Duong Cemetery attracts tourist to visit both the daytime and night. There is the great number of both domestic and international tourists setting foot on Hang Duong Cemetery to light the incense rods on graves. At night, the lights shine everywhere in the cemetery. Small lamp as lighting candles together with burning incense makes whole cemetery become much more sparkling. The melodious sound of music from small speakers scattered, waves and wind through the trees looks like a symphony having protected the perennial sleep of heroes, martyrs, Vietnam patriots here. It seemly does not exist melancholy often found in the cemetery but warm feelings in the hearts of tourists to visit the graves instead. Hang Duong Cemetery is worth the first tourist site in the journey of discovering Con Dao tourism.