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Handbook to visit relics of Thang Long Imperial Citadel

  • 09/12/2019

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long bears tremendous cutural and historical values accumulated through the course of more than a millennium. Therefore, since its opening to welcome visitors, especially after being recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage, Thang Long Imperial CItadel has always been an indispensable destination for people who set foot in the Capital city. 

Introduction of Thang Long Imperial Citadel site

Thang Long Imperial Citadel

Thang Long Imperial Citadel now belongs to Dien Bien and Quan Thanh wards, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi. This relic area has a total area of 18,395 ha, including archaeological sites at 18 Hoang Dieu and other remnants in Hanoi ancient relics such as Doan Mon, Hanoi flagpole, Kinh Thien Palace, the D67, Bac Mon, Hau Lau, the City Walls and eight gates of the palace under the Nguyen Dynasty.

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a historical site of the ancient Thang Long citadel, starting from the pre-Thang Long period (7th century) through the Dinh - Tien Le period, which was strongly developed under the Ly, Tran, Le and then became Hanoi under Nguyen dynasties. This is a huge architectural work, built by dynasties of many historical periods and became the most important monument in the system of Vietnam's monuments. Thang Long Imperial Citadel has been recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage.

These relics are located in Ba Dinh district and are limited by the following streets: the North is Phan Dinh Phung street, the South is Bac Son street and the Parliament building, the Southwest is Dien Bien Phu street, the West Hoang Dieu Street, Doc Lap Street, National Assembly House and finally the East is Nguyen Tri Phuong Street. This is a place to visit for sure you will not be missed when traveling to Hanoi .

How to get to Thang Long Imperial Citadel?

To visit Thang Long Imperial Citadel, you should come to No. 19C Hoang Dieu, which is the main gate for visitors. From the center of Hanoi you can easily go to Hoang Thanh relics by motorbikes, bycicles, cars, buses. If you take the bus you, can catch route 22A or 02, which have stops in front of Hoang Thanh.

Ticket price and opening hours to visit Hoang Thanh Thang Long

- Thang Long Imperial Citadel is open on weekdays (except Monday).
- Opening time: Morning: 8:00 - 11:30; Afternoon: 14:00 - 17:00
- Tickets to visit the area is 30,000 VND/turn (Free admission for children under 15)

Places to visit in the relics of Thang Long Imperial Citadel

Coming to Hoang Thanh Thang Long you can visit many famous monuments in the complex of relics:

Archaeological site at 18 Hoang Dieu

Archaeological site at 18 Hoang Dieu

18 Hoang Dieu

The site consists of the lower floor which is part of the eastern side of Dai La citadel under Cao Bien period of Duong dynasty. The upper floor is the palace of the Ly and Tran dynasties, followed by a central part of the Le dynasty and The top is part of the center of Hanoi Citetal in the 19th century.

Hanoi flagpole

Hanoi flagpole                   photo by Hoang Ha   

Hanoi flagpole is a relic built in 1812 during the reign of Gia Long. Hanoi Flag Tower is 60m high, including base, pole and guard. The base is square with an area of 2007m² and includes 3 levels of gradual ascending. Each floor has flower pattern walls. From the ground up to the second floor, visitors have to take 18 steps. If you want to go from the second floor to the third floor, you also have to climb up 18 steps at the East and West. The third level has 4 gates, corresponding to the East, the West, the South and the North Gate.

You might also like: There is an intact over-200-year-old Flag Tower in Hanoi

Dien Kinh Thien (Kinh Thien Palace)

Dien Kinh Thien

This is the central monument, the main nucleus in the overall historical sites of Hanoi ancient citadel. Kinh Thien Palace is located in the center of the monument. In front of Kinh Thien Palace, there is Doan Mon, then the Hanoi Flag Tower; behind is Hau Lau, Cua Bac; to the east and the west, there are walls and small doors.

Currently, the only remaining vestige of Kinh Thien Palace is the old foundation. To the south of the palace, there is a banister higher than one meter. In the front, the south-direction of Kinh Thien Palace, it is built a step system, which consists of 10 big stone steps, 4 stone dragons dividing into 3 equal ways up,  forming a dragon shelf.

Four stone dragons were constructed in the 15th century during the Le Dynasty. Dragon sculpture in Kinh Thien Palace is a masterpiece of architectural art that exemplifies the sculpture of the Le dynasty. The dragon is carved out of blue stone, with a high head, large head, round eyes, long horns with branches, a mane gliding back, a mouth open, a bead of pearl. The dragon's body curves softly into many arcs, gradually decreasing towards the above electric platform. On the back of the dragon is a long, undulating fin like clouds and sparks. The two steps on both sides of the platform are stylized dragons. Kinh Thien Palace and the couple of dragons partly reflect the magnificence of the ancient Thien Thien Palace.

Hau Lau

Hau Lau

Also known as Lau Tinh Bac (Tinh Bac Lau) is a building built behind the architectural complex of Kinh Thien Palace, the palace of Hanoi ancient citadel. Although it is built behind, it is to the 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.

Cua Bac (The North Gate)

Cua Bac

This is one of the five gates of Hanoi during the Nguyen Dynasty. In Cua Bac also retained two cannonballs caused by French boat cannon from the Red River in 1882 when the French defeated Hanoi the second time. Today, the gate is a place of worshiping the two governors of Hanoi, Nguyen Tri Phuong and Hoang Dieu.

House D67

House D67

This is where the Ministry of Defense, the Politburo and the Central Military Commission made historic decisions that mark the milestones of the Vietnamese revolution. These were the Tet Revolution in 1968, 1972 and the culmination of that was the Ho Chi Minh campaign in 1975 to liberate the South region and reunite the whole country.

Some notes for you when visiting Thang Long Hoang Thanh

-  Follow the instruction map for sightseeing in the monument.
-  Do not bring weapons, explosives, flammable substances, toxic substances and foul-smelling substances into the relics.
-  Costume need to be neat and polite. Under no circumstances shoulds acts like profanity, writing on the wall, or causing disorder in the relic be allowed and approved. Motor vehicles and motorcycles must  be parked at the right place (at 19C Hoang Dieu).
-  Conscious of protecting the relics site.
-  Groups, companies or organizations wishing to visit should contact the Explanation Guidance Room to be served. Agencies and individuals wishing to film and record video must have a letter of introduction and achieve the consent of the management of the Thang Long - Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center.
-  Do not use ultra-light aircraft (flycam) at the heritage site.

By Quynh Nhi

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