Thang Long Imperial Citadel

Thang Long Imperial Citadel

Thang Long Imperial Citadel (Vietnamese: Hoàng Thành Thăng Long) – because of its cultural and historical values, was recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage in July 2010. It is a must-visit place if you want to discover more about Hanoi – a land with thousands of years of civilization.

  • Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 8:00-11:30 and 14:00-17:00
  • Location: 19C Hoang Dieu, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi (See on Google Map)
  • Entrance fee: VND.30000
  • Transportation: the most convenient way is to go by taxi. If you want to go by bus you can use bus No.22

History of Thang Long Imperial Citadel

The royal wall was first built during the Lý dynasty (1010). Then expanded by the Trần, Lê and Nguyễn dynasty. It remained the seat of the Vietnamese court until 1810, when the Nguyễn dynasty chose to move the capital to Huế. The ruins roughly coincide with the Hanoi Citadel today.

The royal palaces and most of the structures in Thăng Long were in varying states of disrepair by the late 19th century with the upheaval of the French conquest of Hanoi. By the 20th century many of the remaining structures were torn down. Only in the 21st century are the ruin foundations of Thăng Long Imperial City systematically excavated.

In mid-1945 the Citadel was used by the Imperial Japanese Army to imprison over 4000 French colonial soldiers captured during the Japanese coup in French Indochina in March 1945.

The central sector of the imperial citadel was listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site on July 31, 2010 at its session in Brazil, as “The Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long – Hanoi”

Visitting places in Thang Long Imperial Citadel

Hanoi Flag Tower

Situated in Dien Bien Phu Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi.  It was built in 1812 under King Gia Long’s reign, Nguyen Dynasty in the Southern part of Thang Long Imperial Citadel.
Hanoi Flag Tower remains an undamaged and the most imposing structure in the entire Thang Long Imperial Vestige. Moreover, in 1989 it was recognized as the historical monument.

Hanoi Flag Tower
Hanoi Flag Tower

The historical meaning

On October 10th, 1954, it is the first time the red flag with yellow star-the National Flag, flied on the top of Hanoi Flag Tower. That day is the Festival of Victory, Hanoi became completely liberated. The people marched to wait for a historic moment: the hoisting ceremony of National Flag on the top of the tower.
For more than half of a century, the red flag with yellow star has flied in the sky of Thang Long – Hanoi Capital of thousand years tradition as a symbol of glory and pride of an independence and freedom Vietnam.

Kinh thien Palace – The most important place of Thang Long Imperial Citadel

Kinh Thien Palace is the central area among the overall vestiges in Thang Long – Hanoi Imperial Citadel. It used to be a palace of great significance. In this place is used for holding the most solemn rituals, welcoming foreign emissaries discussing affairs of state.

It started to be built in 1428 under the reign of King Le Thai To and completed under the reign of King Le Thanh Tong.

In 1805, King Gia Long ordered to build this area as the royal step-over palace for Nguyen Kings during their trips to the North.

During French domination at the end of XIXth century, French colonialists destroyed Kinh Thien royal step-over palace. Then they built a headquarters of artillery which was then called Dragon Courtyard. Because there were stone dragons in the front and at the back.

After October 10th 1954, Vietnamese Army took over the capital. Then this area became the headquarters of the Ministry of Defence.

In 2004, the Ministry of Defence handed over a part of the centre of Thang Long – Hanoi Imperial Citadel to Hanoi People’s Committee.

Since November, 2004, officially open to visitors. The ancient citadel – Kinh Thien Palace has become one of the sights extremely attractive to tourists.

Dragon in Le dynasty Dien Kinh Thien Hanoi
Dragon in Le dynasty Dien Kinh Thien Hanoi

Cua Bac

Cua Bac (Northern Gate of Thang Long Imperial Citadel) was built in 1805 and is the only remaining gate to Hanoi Citadel under Nguyen Dynasty.

Northern Gate was built in 1805 on the foundation of Northern Gate under Le Dynasty with the architecture of watch tower gazebo. The watch tower was built on the wall of 8.71 m height, 17.08m width and with 2.48m walls. It has wooden frames of eight roof style and four doors into four directions. Standing on the gate, imperial troops could observe the outside and inside as well as movement of the enemy. Therefore, after occupying Hanoi Citadel, French army still had to use the watch tower gazebo as the sentry box. Currently, the watch tower gazebo is being restored partly for worshiping Nguyen Tri Phuong and Hoang Dieu.

Today, North Gate becomes an interesting attraction for domestic and foreign tourists. At the outside of North Gate, there are still two bullet holes caused by the France cannon in 1882.

North Gate is not only a leftover of Hanoi Ancient Citadel. It also a testament to the heroic struggle of Hanoians against the French in the early days.

Cua Bac Hanoi
Cua Bac Hanoi

Archaeological site of 18 Hoang Dieu

The site consists of the lower floor which is part of the eastern side of Dai La citadel under the Cao Bien period, the Tang dynasty. Besides, the upper floor is the palace of the Ly and Tran dynasties, followed by a central part of the Le dynasty. The top is part of the center of the citadel of the 19th century Hanoi.
A destination suitable for travelers interested in history and archeology.

Archaeological site of 18 Hoang Dieu Hanoi
Archaeological site of 18 Hoang Dieu Hanoi

Hau Lau (Princess Palace)

Hau Lau – Tinh Bac Lau (Palace that keeps the North peace) is about 2.392m2. It was built after the Later Le dynasty. Besides, it is a building built behind the architectural complex of Thien Thien Palace, the palace of Hanoi ancient citadel. Although behind the supply but is north, built with the feng shui intention to keep the northern peace. This is also the residence of the queen and princesses during the feudal period. Under Nguyen Dynasty, Hau Lau was used as the residence of imperial concubines and followers who accompanied the King to Bac Ha.

Hau Lau Hanoi
Hau Lau Hanoi

Doan Mon (Main Gate)

Doan Mon is one of the main entrances to the Forbidden City. Basing on construction materials and remaining architectural style of the relics, it can be affirmed that current Doan Mon was built under Le Dynasty and restored in Nguyen Dynastry. The monument is situated in the south of Kinh Thien Palace on the same axis with Hanoi Flag Tower. Doan Mon was built horizontally in U-shape. Doan Mon was built in the style of ancient city wall with five gates symmetrically erecting through a “deity axis”. It also known as the “righteousness axis” of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel.

Doan Mon Hanoi
Doan Mon Hanoi

D67 House and tunnel

Previously, this place was the headquarter of the Vietnamese People’s Army during the Vietnam war from 1954 to 1975. D67 House was built in 1967 with modern architecture. It has wall thickness of 0,6 meters as long as a sound insulation system for security. This place is suitable for tourists who are interested in learning about Vietnam war history.

D67 house and tunnel
D67 house and tunnel
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