The embalmed communist leader tour

Yes, this is strange! I have been to see the embalmed bodies of 3 communist leaders: Mao, Lenin and Ho Chi Minh. Red tourism, it’s called.Apparently, it’s a long standing tradition among communist leaders to be on display after their death. They also talked about embalming Fidel Castro, but he broke the tradition by being cremated. But of course anachronistic Korean Kim Il Sung has one, but I haven’t been there. Yet! For non-religious leaders, these mausoleums are some of the most devout places I have been! But they score pretty high ratings on Tripadvisor, so this might be for you too.


  • It is obviously not allowed to take photographs, so no portraits here.
  • Walk slowly and calm in the line, but don’t stop
  • You are not allowed to bring any bags and you might have to go through a metal detector
  • Don’t speak or do anything disrespectful
  • Dress modestly and don’t put your hands in your pockets
  • Beware that the locations once in a while close down for preservation of the body, so check before hand
  • This is very different than the embalmed mummies in museums. It can be scary for children (and grown ups)

The Red Square, Moscow, Russia. The Lenin Mausoleum is the pyramid on the left.

Vladimir Lenin

This was the scariest thing ever. Also known as Lenin’s Tomb. Lenin lies on an important site near the kremlin at The Red Square in Mosow, Russia. It’s a red and black building surrounded by Russian guards. Lenin died in 1924 and was first laid in a wooden mausoleum while the impressive granite mausoleum was finished. The mausoleum served as a place the people could to say goodbye to their leader. During the 2.World war he was removed to Siberia to avoid the body falling into the enemy’s hands. The weirdest thig is that it was Stalin’s idea to embalm Lenin. Not his own. For a time, Stalin was place beside Lenin, but was removed in 1961. Inside it is very dark and gloomy, and the atmosphere is very devoutly. Rumor has it he has long time ago been replaced by a wax figure.

Open from 10-13 daily except Mondays and Fridays. See a virtual model here 


Workers cleaning the lawn by hand in front of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh

This was a more light and friendly atmosphere and the queue was the longest of all three of them. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam is also a massive marble pyramid shaped building like Lenin’s tomb, but the atmosphere was different. Maybe it was because the weather was warmer and the area greener than in Russia. He died in 1969 and also didn’t want to be embalmed and displayed. But he ended up in a mausoleum any way. Expect him to be in Russia with Lenin’s crew for “maintenance” between September and November.

Open daily 9-12.

Chairman Mao

The embalmed body of Mao resides in the middle of Tiananmen Square, in Beijing, China. The Chairman Mao Memorial Hall (Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, Mao Mausoleum) is also huge and an impressive site just opposite the entrance to the Forbidden City. Mao was leader of the Communist party from 1943 until he died in 1976, where he was embalmed.  We did’nt actually get in because we had a big bag, and we were denied entrance after standing in line for a long time, so we left. But I feel like I have been there.

Open daily from 8-11.30 and 14-16.

Do you think the mausoleums can be visited 10 years from now?

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