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There is an intact over-200-year-old Flag Tower in Hanoi

  • 04/12/2019

The monument of Hanoi Flag Tower (also known as Ky Dai) is located in the campus of Vietnam Military History Museum on Dien Bien Phu Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. This Flag Tower was built from 1805 - 1812, under King Gia Long reign of Nguyen Dynasty, on the southern land of Thang Long Imperial Citadel. At the foot of the tower, there are cannons manufactured by the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th century, discovered in areas around Thang Long Imperial Citadel in 2003.

Basic information about Hanoi Flag Tower

The tower has many floors, each with the truncated pyramid base, gradually smaller to the top, overlapping each other and has the brick wall around.

-  1st floor: Each direction 42,5 m ; 3.1 m high

-  2 nd floor: 27 m each way; 3.7 m high

-  3rd floor: Each direction 12.8 m; 5.1 m high;

There are 4 doors, except for the North door, each of the remaining 3 doors has 2 words, depending on each direction:

-  The East Gate - Nghenh Huc (meaning: welcome the morning sun)

-  The South Gate - Huong Minh (meaning: toward the light)

-  The West Gate - Hoi Quang (meaning: reflected light)

From 1st to 3rd floor, there is a spiral staircase leading up. On the 3rd floor upwards, there is a cylindrical flag tower body with 8 sides tapering upward, each side is 2.13 m long and 18.2 m high. The spiral trapezoid shaped cylinder consists of 54 steps; illuminated (and vented) with 39 asterisk windows and 6 fan-shaped windows. These panels are placed along the edges, each with up to 5 or 6 windows.

The top of the tower is made up of an octagonal floor, 3.3 m high with 8 windows corresponding to 8 sides. In the middle of this floor is a round pillar, 0.4 m in diameter and rises to the top of the floor, where the flag (8 m high) is located.

When the French destroyed Hanoi, they intended to break the Flag Tower, fortunately they did not do this, because they wanted to turn it into a horse racing watching station.

Under the Nguyen Dynasty, on Tet holidays, the royal gold flag was usually hung on the top of the tower. The Flag Tower was also the place where the king watched the army fighting rehearsals and martial arts. This is one of the rare works that remains intact through the war and is also the most majestic in the complex of Thang Long Imperial Citadel.

The staircase leads visitors from the first floor to the second floor of the flagpole. Building materials of this project are bricks and stones from many different periods. According to the researchers, the first and second floors were built mainly of mallet bricks, the typical building bricks of the Le dynasty period. The third floor was made from only old bricks and the tower was made from youngly baked bricks.

Hanoi flagpole viewed from the third base. The body of the flagpole is an 18-meter-tall eight-sided cylinder, descending from the bottom to the top with the entrance on the north side, above the door embossed with the Chinese character "Ky Dai". The entire flagpole is illuminated and ventilated by 39 small asterisk doors and six fan-shaped doors. In the tower body there are 54 spiral staircases buried snails up to the summit but today are closed to visitors. Visitors here have to stop at the third podium.

Like many other tourist destinations in Hanoi, the flagpole body is being seriously damaged by tourists through writing, drawing and engraving. The words on the body of columns are in many languages like Vietnamese, English, Korean ... and still appear more and more.

This place attracts a lot of tourists and photographers. This area is most crowded on festivals associated with the events of the country and the army such as April 30 to May 1 (Liberation day), September 2 (Independence day), July 27 (Day of wounded soldiers and revolutionary martyr) and December 22 (The establishment day of Vietnamese Army)

At the foot of the flagpole is an outdoor exhibition area of the Museum of Military History of Vietnam. A little further to the left is Thang Long Imperial Citadel - a world cultural heritage with a history of over 13 centuries. The Hanoi Flag Tower is free to visit. Visitors who want to enter the flagpole will have to go through the gate of the Vietnam Military History Museum at 28A Dien Bien Phu. The parking price is 5,000 VND for motorbike and 30,000 VND for car.

By Quynh Nhi

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