The imperial citadel of Thang Long, Hanoi

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The imperial citadel of Thang Long, Hanoi


There was a centre of regional political power for almost 13 centuries without interruption which covers area of 20ha, includes archaeological area at 18 Hoang Dieu Street and relics in Ha Noi Citadel such as: Bac Mon, Doan Mon, Hau Lau, stone dragons in Kinh Thien Palace, dragon house, house D67 and Ha Noi flag tower. It’s the imperial citadel of Thang Long, Hanoi. The Imperial Citadel buildings and the remains reflect a unique South-East Asian culture specific to the lower Red River Valley, at the crossroads between influences coming from China in the north and the ancient Kingdom of Champa in the south.

These relics are surrounded by 4 streets: Phan Dinh Phung Street in the north, Dien Bien Phu Street in the south, Nguyen Tri Phuong Street in the east and Hoang Dieu Street in the west. The Central Sector is located in the heart of the capital city of Vietnam because it is the most essential, central and best preserved section of the former Thang Long imperial citadel where the political leader lived and ruled for thirteen centuries, whether this was the emperor in the pre-Nguyen dynasties, the Viceroy under the Nguyen dynasty, the high-ranking Indochinese military officers under the French, or Vietnamese leaders during the Vietnam War. The attributes bear outstanding universal values such as: longevity, continuity as a seat of power, and the presence of a layered record of vestiges, which includes both underground archaeological remains and above ground architecture, planning and decorative arts. This cultural layering reflects the high level of cultural diversity in this part of the world and the interchange of human values flowing from East Asia, other parts of Southeast Asia and South Asia and fusing in the heart of the Red River delta to form a rich and distinctive culture. It is a place in the Asian region where many events of global importance have been taken place and had an impact on the site and can be read in the landscape.

 This imperial citadel was encircled by three incorporated forts: the outer fort was Kinh Thanh (Imperial City), the Hong, To Lich and Kim Nguu rivers, Kinh Thanh acted as a dyke system for the capital city; the second fort (the middle ring) was Hoang Thanh (Imperial Citadel) and most inner enclosure was Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden City). It was repaired and had many new works and expanded in Le So Dynasty. But in dynasties 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 Nguyen Dynasty, the remainders of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long were transferred to Phu Xuan for building new citadel. In 1831, King Minh Mang changed name of the Citadel of Thang Long to Ha Noi Province in a big administrative reform. When French colonists occupied all Indochina, they chose Ha Noi as the capital of French Indochina Union and the Ha Noi Citadel was destroyed to build military camp for French colonists. Since the Vietnamese army took the control of the capital city in 1954, the Ha Noi Citadel has become the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense.The first value of the central sector of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Ha Noi shows that it is nearly a book displaying over 10 century- history of Thang Long – Ha Noi from Dai La Citadel in Pre-Thang Long period to nowadays.

 Archaeological value

            Although the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long underwent a lot of changes but its centre, especially Forbidden City, remained nearly unchanged. As architectural structures inside the Imperial Citadel were rebuilt and upgraded several times, it’s layers of architectural vestiges and artefacts at archaeological site were found at 18 Hoang Dieu approved that. These vestiges reflect clearly relation between urban project and architectural space as well as succession of dynasties in building the Citadel of Thang Long. This is the unique and prominent value of the central sector of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Ha Noi. Here, archaeologists excavated a great deal of porcelain and ceramic wares used in the Imperial Citadel through various stages of development. The findings paved the way for researchers to study ceramics made in Thang Long and ceramic wares used in the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long through different dynasties. It is also concrete evidence about high development level of economy and culture. In addition, porcelains and bronze coins of China, Japan, Western Asia… found here proved that Thang Long was centre of cultural exchange among countries in area and received quintessence values of humanity

            The central sector of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Ha Noi was recognized as world cultural heritage at 20h30 on July 30, 2010 in Brasilia Capital of Brazil by World Heritage Committee of UNESCO. It was done basing on three prominent criterions: historical and cultural length; its continuousness as a power centre; diversification and plenty of vestiges and artifacts. The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Ha Noi was given certification at the ceremony of the 1000th anniversary of Thang Long – Ha Noi on October 1, 2010. If you have ever heard the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, Hanoi but never come here, please apply evisa Vietnam and spend time here, you will learn more about this capital as well as the world cultural heritage.

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