The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, is an intriguing relic of Vietnam’s history and, signifying its historical and cultural importance, was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. Also known as the Hanoi Citadel, many artefacts and items dating back to between the 6th and 20th centuries were excavated in 2004, including foundations of old palaces, ancient roads, ponds and wells.
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is the cultural complex comprising the royal enclosure first built during the Ly Dynasty and subsequently expanded by the Tran, Lê and finally the Nguyen Dynasty. The ruins roughly coincide with the Hanoi Citadel today.
The royal palaces and most of the structures in Thang Long were in varying states of disrepair by the late 19th century with the upheaval of the French conquest of Hanoi. By the 20th century many of the remaining structures were torn down. Only in the 21st century are the ruin foundations of Thang Long Imperial City systematically excavated.
On top of these discoveries, archaeologists also found bronze coins, ceramics and pottery from China and many places in Asia, all of which demonstrate a close trading relationship in the area. Visitors should head for the display room that features interesting excavated items and mock-ups of the citadel itself.
The ancient site was the political centre of the country for 13 consecutive centuries and served as the capital of Vietnam for eight centuries. A notable attraction in the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was the Hanoi Flag Tower, a renovated 40-metre-tall stone fortress offering expansive views of Ba Dinh Square and Hanoi City Centre.
Located in Ba Dinh District, entrance to the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is priced at VND 30,000 and it is open from 08:00 to 17:00 every day except Monday. This prominent site is also within a 15-minute walk from attractions such as Quan Thanh Temple, Vietnam Military History Museum and Cua Bac Church.0