The Hanoi Imperial Citadel is a well-preserved Unesco World Heritage site, with a strong claim to being the finest historical site in the city. Though there are various monuments and archaeological artifacts here, the French conquest of Hanoi means that much of the citadel and many pavilions were destroyed.
In 1010, Emperor Ly Thai To claimed to have seen a dragon ascending the Red river. Shortly after, the Later Ly Dynasty (1009-1225) built the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long (meaning soaring dragon) in the capital of Hanoi. The towering walls, classic oriental curved roofs, lush greenery and beautiful plants make you feel like you are stepping inside an ancient city, and in some senses you are.
The Hanoi Citadel has been the location of many historic events. It was the site for extravagant celebrations following the evacuation of the French in 1954 and historical pictures of the day’s events are showcased throughout the citadel.
The entrance to this superb Unesco World Heritage site is at 19 Hoang Dieu. There is a small but highly informative museum by the reception, which includes photos from the celebrations after the defeat of the French and an exploration of the period in Vietnam.
Next, make your way down the large path surrounded by open fields towards the large South gate. There are several fascinating places to visit as you walk through the Hanoi Citadel, such as the South and North Gate, Exhibition Room, Command Bunker, Revolutionary Relics, Ladies Pavilion, Archaeological Site and the Hanoi Flag Tower where you can enjoy a view of Hanoi at 40 meters tall.
It is centrally located and just a 15 minute walk to other popular destinations such as the Quan Thanh Temple, Vietnam Military Museum and Cua Bac Church.
19C Hoàng Diệu, Điện Bàn, Ba Đình
8 p.m. to 5 p.m. except Mondays
30,000 VND adults/ 15,000 students and seniors/ free for children
hoangthanhthanglong.vn/ (Tiếng Việt, English)