Situated in the heart of Hanoi, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long captures visitors’ attention with outstanding cultural and archaeological values, reflected in its historical longevity. 




Historical relics

Hanoi Flag Tower (Ky Dai)

silkpath-hanoi-travel-guide-imperial-citadel-of-thang-long-flag tower

Built in 1805 under the reign of Emperor Gia Long, Flag Tower is one of the few constructions of the Hanoi Citadel, which has survived almost intact, through the French domination administration between 1894 and 1897. Rising 33.4 meters from the ground, Hanoi Flag Tower consists of a three-tier basement, three storeys, and a tower. It now lies within the Vietnam Military History Museum compound and is a timeless symbol of Hanoi.

On October 10th, 1954, the red flag with a yellow star, the National Flag, flew on the top of the Hanoi Flag Tower for the first time, recognized as a historical monument in 1989. That day, the people jubilantly welcomed the Festival of Victory, the day Hanoi was completely liberated. The people marched towards Hanoi Flag Tower, waiting for a historic moment: the hoisting ceremony of the National Flag on the top of the Hanoi Flag Tower. 

A special thing is that during the hottest days in Hanoi, the atmosphere inside the Tower is always cool and relaxed. The structure of the doors is so scientific that the rainwater can not flow into the Tower however heavy the rain is.


Main Gate (Doan Mon)

silkpath-hanoi-travel-guide-imperial-citadel-of-thang-long main gate doan monDoan Mon is one of the main entrances to the Forbidden City. Based on construction materials and the remaining architectural style of the relics, it can be affirmed that the current Doan Mon was built under Le Dynasty and restored in Nguyen Dynasty.

The monument is situated in the south of Kinh Thien Palace on the same axis as Hanoi Flag Tower. Doan Mon was built horizontally in U-shape. Doan Mon was built in the style of an ancient city wall with five gates symmetrically erected through a “deity axis”, also known as the “righteousness axis” of the Imperial Citadel.

The main architectural part followed the watch tower gazebo style with three rolling arches. Rolling arch architecture at the gates not only brought graceful curves but also embraces excellent load-bearing structures – a spectacular architecture still used in modern time tunnel projects.


Northern Gate (Bac Mon)

silkpath-hanoi-travel-guide-imperial-citadel-of-thang-long northern gate bac monChinh Bac Mon (Main Northern Gate ) or Cua Bac (Northern Gate of Thang Long Imperial Citadel) is situated on Phan Dinh Phung Street which was built in 1805 on the foundation of Northern Gate under the Le Dynasty with the architecture of a watch tower gazebo, on a wall of 8.71 m height, 17.08m width, and with 2.48m walls and is the only remaining gate to Hanoi Citadel under Nguyen Dynasty. 

The watch tower was built with wooden frames of eight roof styles and four doors in four directions. Rainwater on the watch tower gazebo was drained with two stone gutters. Standing on the gate, imperial troops could observe the outside and inside of the citadel as well as the movement of the enemy. Therefore, after occupying Hanoi Citadel, the 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 two province chiefs of Hanoi Citadel, Nguyen Tri Phuong and Hoang Dieu who sacrificed for not being able to defend the citadel under the assault of the French army.


Kinh Thien Palace

silkpath-hanoi-travel-guide-imperial-citadel-of-thang-long kinh thien

Kinh Thien Palace is the central monument and the core of the overall historic sites within the Hanoi Ancient Citadel. It used to be a palace of great significance where the court held the most solemn rituals, welcomed foreign emissaries, and gave an audience to discuss affairs of state.

In 1428, after defeating Ming Dynasty invaders, King Le Thai To continued to set up the capital in Thang Long and ordered the renewal of the damaged royal citadel. Kinh Thien Palace was built during this period of time. In 1886, it was destroyed. Nowadays, only ruins of steps and the palace foundations remain (within the Hanoi Ancient Citadel). 

The traces of Kinh Thien Palace are now only the old foundation. Its stone dragons, representing the sculpture under the early Le Dynasty, are considered masterpieces.  

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


D67 Revolutionary House

D67 House (Meeting room of the Politburo and Central Military Commission), along with Basement D67 (Central Military Commission basement), was built in 1967 by the Defense Ministry in zone A to secure a headquarters against the raids of the U.S. Air Force in Hanoi. 

Historical and revolutionary relics – House D67 had associated with the operation of the Politburo, the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of Viet Nam (before 1976, it was the Vietnam Workers’ Party), Minister of Defense and Chief of the General Staff of People’s Army of Vietnam since September 1968. In the relics of House D67, there is a Meeting room of the Politburo and Central Military Commission, the working room of General Vo Nguyen Giap and General Van Tien Dung.

House D67 is a simple military structure but has notably high usage value. In seven years, the house provided a safe place for the commanders in chief to work, plan policies and direct the successful implementation of the final phase of the resistance war against the US. House D67 is one of the most precious military relics since the 20th century.


Archaeological Site

Thang Long – the capital of Dai Viet (Great Viet) was very prosperous from the 11th – 15th centuries, under the reign of Ly – Tran – Early Le. But due to many causes and historical events, ancient Thang Long has only remained with memories of a magnificent and elegant capital city that make us irresistible to track and restore.

Archaeological excavation at 18 Hoang Dieu Street, which started in December 2002, was the largest archaeological one in Vietnam to date, aiming at preparing to build a new Parliament House. This archaeological site is situated at 18 Hoang Dieu Street, Ba Dinh District, and is analyzed and divided into 4 zones, named A, B, C, and D by Archaeological Institute. In this area, archeologists have found a lot of different types of architectural monuments and relics with mixed dates, overlaying on top of each other over the past 1300 years.

  • Zone A is located adjacent to Hoang Dieu Street. This area has been discovered with many important architectural traces, typically the trace of “multi-room architecture” dating from the Ly – Tran Dynasties.
  • Zone B is located adjacent and parallel to Zone A with many large architectural foundation traces of Ly – Tran. In the north of this area, at hole B16, archeologists have found a ground of an architectural monad under Tran Dynasty with a large column base lotus-shaped stone pedestal (column diameter of about 52 cm) that is still in its original position.
  • Zone C is next to Zone B, adjacent to the campus of Ba Dinh Hall. This area has five new excavation pits. Although the excavation has been limited to a small area, in reconnaissance hole C3, archeologists have found architectural traces of the Ly Dynasty with systems of large square column footing reinforced with gravels, bricks and pile systems, and wooden pillars.
  • Zone D is located in the position of the current Ba Dinh Sports Centre, next to Doc Lap Street and next to the Ba Dinh Hall campus. This area has been excavated with 7 pits (D1 – D7). In this architecture, archeologists have found some relics like pieces of Ly’s dragon-decorated golden leaves and pieces of tiles showing that Kim Quang Palace and Hoang Mon Building were built here in the past.



A Night at the Ancient Citadel (Evening tour)

Departure: 7.00 PM (Fridays & Saturdays)

Time: 1.5 hours

Sightseeing route:

Pick up guests at the gate of the Imperial Citadel 19c Hoang Dieu – Take pictures to check in at Doan Mon – See art performances on the Doan Mon archaeological glass floor – Visit the artifact gallery – Offer incense in memory of the steps Emperor at Kinh Thien Palace – Visit the archaeological remains at 18 Hoang Dieu – Experience the royal well water – Decipher artifacts by laser light – Relax, enjoy lotus tea, royal lotus jam under the tree bodhi.

Source/ Info: Hoàng Thành Thăng Long, Vietnamnet