Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - Hanoi's noteworthy historic site

Hanoi's Imperial Citadel was the center of Vietnamese military power for over 1000 years. It was built in the 11thcentury by the Vietnamese Ly Dynasty, marking the independence of the Dai Viet reign. 

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is characterized by its longevity and continuity as a seat of power, evidenced by different archaeological levels and monuments.

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was built on the remains of a Chinese fortress dating from the 7th century, on drained land reclaimed from the Red River Delta in Hanoi.  It was the center of regional political power for almost thirteen centuries without interruption. It includes relics in Hanoi Citadels and an interesting archaeological area at 18 Hoang Dieu Street. Excavation work stretching from 2002 to 2004 at the Thang Long Royal Citadel site and as a result many precious artifacts and items from the 6th to the 20th century belonging to the Ly, Nguyen, Tran, Le eras were found.

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The ancient Citadel of Thang Long was covered by three combination forts. The outer fort was Kinh Thanh (Imperial City), where the general public lived. Surrounded by the Hong, To Lich and Kim Nguu rivers, Kinh Thanh acted as a dike system for the capital city. The next fort was Hoang Thanh (Imperial Citadel), where the royal court, offices, and residence of mandarins were located. The smallest and most inner encircle was Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden City) where the king, queens, and mistress lived in hidden. The Citadel of Thang Long was amended and had many new works in Tran Dynasty and expanded in Le So Dynasty. From 1516 to 1788 in the domination of Mac and Le Trung Hung, the Citadel of Thang Long was destroyed many times. In early 1789, King Quang Trung transferred the capital city to Phu Xuan, the Citadel of Thang Long only acted as Bac Thanh (the northern defensive fortification). In the last Vietnam’s  Dynasty, the remainders of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long were removed to Phu Xuan for building the new citadel. Only Kinh Thien Palace and Hau Lau were still to be accommodations for Kings Nguyen during the business trips to the Bac Thanh. In 1805, King Gia Long ordered the devastation of the walls surrounding the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long and requested the building of a new, smaller citadel called Ha Noi Citadel with the architectural style of Vauban (France). In 1831, King Minh Mang changed its name of the Citadel of Thang Long to Ha Noi Province in a big administrative. When French colonists occupied all Indochina, they asset Ha Noi as the capital of French Indochina Union and it is time Ha Noi Citadel was destroyed to build a military camp for French colonists. Since the Vietnamese army gain the control right of the capital city in 1954. As the result, Ha Noi Citadel has become the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense.  

Vietnam students often pick Imperial Citadel of Thang Long to take yearbook photos before graduating (around October to December and April to June). If you come to the Citadel at these periods in Hanoi Tour, it will be a fascinating chance to see beautiful students wear the Vietnamese traditional dress around.