The Marble Mountains is a cluster of five marble and limestone hills located in Ngu Hanh Son District, south of Da Nang. The five mountains are named after the five elements: Kim (metal), Thuy (water), Moc (wood), Hoa (fire), and Tho (earth).
The following is some past History about these mountains and the military units that were based around them during the war.
Marble Mountain was one of five mountains located south of Da Nang that stretched from the coast inland or westward. All of these mountains had cave entrances and numerous tunnels. There was a road that ran between Crow’s Nest and Marble Mountain, from Da Nang through the mountain and about eight miles down to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regimental Headquarters. It then turned right for about five miles and brought you to the Tu Cau bridge.
North of the Mountains on the ocean side of the road was a Marine Helicopter base know as MAG 16, also North of the mountains was the 5th USMC Comm. Battalion. South of that was 5th Special Forces Compound. Most of the villagers were jewellers and worked with the Marble from the mountains. At the base of Marble Mountain there was a monastery. On the other side of the road north of the mountains was a POW compound. There was a leprosarium south of the mountains on the coast. The Leprosarium has since been moved to the base of the Hi Van Pass. The village at the base of the mountains was called Nui Kim Son, which translates to “Mountain of Gold”. The mountain had a huge cave opening and just inside the cave are two huge statues of gods guarding the entrance. Since 1975 the mountains have become a tourist stop and you can tour any of the caves with children from the village of Nui Kim Son.
Back in the feudal war lord years, all the war lords stored their gold and jewels inside Marble Mountain. The monks at the monastery guarded the caves, gold and jewels as well as guarding all the passages inside the caves. The village of Nui Kim Son made jewelry for the war lords and jewelry to sell (they still do to this day). All the villagers, to insure security, never married outside the village. Over hundreds of years of time it is believed that large amounts of gold and jewelry were hidden inside the mountains of Nui Kim Son. Nobody really knows how much because the monks hid it and they were the only ones to know their way around the insides of the mountains. The 3 rd photo was taken at the inside peak of one of the mountains. You can actually climb out and view the surrounding area from the top of the mountain. The 4 th photo was taken in 1988, way before any restoration work had begun on repairing the entrance and walkways around the mountain. This early photo shows the bullet holes in the archway near the main entrance to the mountain. It has since been rebuilt and no signs of war can be seen today.
Inside many of the caves are statues of Buddha. This one in the 1 st photo is a new addition and sits outside near the main Temple. It is inside the grounds at the base of the entrance to the Mountain complex. The 2 nd Buddha sits inside a cavern and is carved from a green marble that the picture does not really reveal to its fullest. Notice the little child playing in front of the shrine. The 3 rd statue is a female goddess and is set back into another cavern. You can see clearly the green marble stone that it was cut from. These two green marble statues are hundreds of years old. The 4 th photo is the main cavern inside the largest of the mountains. It has the opening at the top and a small temple built into the cavern for temple services. There are two guard statues that sit guarding this temple site.
A view from halfway up Monkey Mountain, looking south towards what the Marines called the Horseshoe. The Marble Mountains can be seen in the distance.
This photo was taken inside the perimeter of MAG 16 in early 1965. it shows the Marble Mountains to the south. This was a defensive position occupied by 9th Marines who were the MAG 16 security.
This photo shows a tank guarding the entrance to the base camp for 3 rd Amtracks in 1968. The photo is from Fred Wingfield, a former member of 3 rd Amtracks.
Another photo of the 3 rd Amtrack area at Marble Mountain in 1968. The ARVN troops are celebrating the capture of an NLF (VC) flag.
This photo is of a 106 Recoilless Rifle mounted on top of what the Marines called Crow’s Nest Mountain, one of the five peaks of the Marble Mountains. The only access to the gun was by ropes and was manned by Marines. This photo was taken in 1968.