Ma Thien Lanh Bridge

Tuesday - 19/07/2022 19:44
Ma Thien Lanh Bridge was built on July 12, 1941. The core force in bridge construction was mainly prisoners at Camp Phu Hai.
Ma Thien Lanh Bridge is located on a mountain to the west of Con Dao town, which is about 15km from Co Ong airport. To reach the bridge relic, visitors must go through the National  Park about 3km to a small road which has luxuriant trees on both sides, then climb up another slope. Prisoners were forced to build this bridge by the French. The bridge was built on a high mountain to cross to the other peak, starting from trail  346 across a shallow stream to Ong Dung beach. Its purposes were to exploit forest trees and mountain rocks, serve the construction of prisons and authorities’ offices, and to set up checkpoints to prevent prisoners from escaping.  Nowadays, only two ends of the bridge remain there. 
cầu ma thiên lãnh
cầu ma thiên lãnh

During the construction process, the prisoners had to suffer from extremely severe working conditions. Due to the rugged terrain, lack of food and water, toxic spring water, together with the fact that being injured by the fallen trees or rocks,  exhausting work, and the maltreatment of the jailers, it was estimated by the prisoners that 350 people had died at the time two abutments of the bridge were finished. People have built a large stone stele and a bowl of incense here. Visitors can burn some incense sticks and commemorate the revolutionary soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country at this place. 

Ma Thien Lanh is the name of two unfinished bridge abutments which were built by the blood and bone of hundreds of prisoners. It is located on a dangerous mountain road. That was the reason people gave this bridge the name “Ma Thien Lanh”
“Cầu Ma Thiên lãnh cheo leo
Đá thì chan mặt, lá reo căm hờn”
(Which means “The high Ma Thien Lanh Bridge is rocky with leaves screaming  in anger”.)
Historical documents have recorded that although the bridge was not completed,  there were 350 prisoners dying here because of hunger, cold weather, and accidents. At that time, only 2 abutments were built, each of which was about 8m  high, and the middle pier was under construction. Con Dao prisoners even  composed a song about this bridge as historical evidence of the tragic history of  the Con Dao war: 
“Who walked past, who walked past Ma Thien Lanh bridge,
Please stop to see the nation’s tragedy which was created by the brutal enemy…”
cầu ma thiên lãnh

After the August Revolution in 1945 was successful, this work was abandoned until this day.  In 2005, the Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Ba Ria – Vung Tau province established a memorial stele to commemorate revolutionary soldiers and patriotic compatriots who sacrificed themselves during the hard labor. 


Source: Department of Culture and Sport of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Provice, Photo:Phongnhaexplorer

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