Thang Long Citadel: The Ancient Architectural Destination in Hanoi

Contrary to the busy life of streets and high-rise buildings, Thang Long Citadel is quiet in the heart of Hanoi, witnessing various periods of nation-building and defense.

Thang Long Citadel
Thang Long Citadel in Hanoi | @markjlwang

Coming to this place, you have the opportunity to review history and explore the most majestic, ancient space of kings of the last dynasties in Vietnam.

The following article will synthesize experiences to help you have a convenient and enjoyable tour.

The Ancient Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

The ancient Imperial Citadel of Thang Long has a deep historical and architectural value in Hanoi, Vietnam.

  • Address: 19C Hoang Dieu Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Opening hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm daily, unless Monday
  • Phone number: +84 437 345 427
  • Entrance fee: 30,000VND ~ 1.5 USD per person

The citadel has a total length of nearly 18,400ha, facing the major streets of the city center and the National Assembly building.

With a large area and convenient transportation, this sightseeing place is not difficult to find even if you are traveling to Hanoi for the first time.

The main gate of Hoang Thanh is on Hoang Dieu Street, and the front is a spacious parking lot; so, you can go by car, motorbike, bicycle, bus.

Tip: if you take the bus, you catch bus line 22 will stop in front of the city gate.

> You may want to see the location of Hanoi and its overview.

The main values of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

Thang Long Ancient Citadel
A peaceful corner in the Thang Long Ancient Citadel | @mctu211

Thang Long Citadel has plenty of historical and architectural values, recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage.

  • Thang Long Imperial Citadel is the administrative, economic, political, and cultural center of the whole country, which lasted through 13 centuries of the Ly – Tran – Le – Nguyen dynasties.
  • This place is clear proof of the diverse and unique interference of culture, customs, habits, and art architecture through each historical period.
  • This citadel also has global significance, a hallmark of the indomitable spirit of a colonial country regaining independence.

Places to visit in Thang Long Citadel

After many times of being destroyed and restored, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long still remains traces of ancient history and culture, which have now become tourist attractions.

Archaeological Area at 18 Hoang Dieu Street

Thang Long Hanoi

Located in the east of Dai La citadel (former name of Thang Long under the Tang Dynasty, China ruled), this excavation area has many remaining historical vestiges, such as the foundation, solid pillars of foundation, ancient wells, and reliefs.

Thereby, this place will provide you with a lot of knowledge about fine arts and culture, and specific architecture of the dynasties.

Hanoi flagpole

Hanoi flagpole
Hanoi flagpole |

Hanoi flagpole is the tallest solid architectural work of nineteenth-century Hanoi.

Up to now, the flagpole has remained almost its shape. The brick wall has been discolored and worn out, but the patterns on the body are still visible.

The flagpole is 60m high, divided into three parts: the body and the gazebo, and the 2007m2-width base.

The Vietnam flag fluttering in the wind is to symbolize the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese and revive the patriotic heart in every people.

A flagpole is a must-see place for almost Vietnamese tourists when visiting Hanoi Imperial Citadel.

Doan Gate (Doan Mon)

Doan Mon Gate
Doan Gate | @lawrie_dower

Doan Mon is the main gate leading to Cam Thanh (Forbidden City), straight to the Hanoi flagpole, and also the central axis of the imperial city.

Doan Mon has the style of an ancient city gate, with 5 arched doors built of stone and brick in the Le Dynasty (1428 to 1789). The middle door is the entrance of the king, with 4 doors on both sides for the courtiers.

Kinh Then Palace

Kinh Thien Palace
Dragons at Kinh Thien Palace | @cherrybloom_ss

Passing through the Doan Mon gate will lead directly to Kinh Thien Palace, which is the central area of ​​the court, where major ceremonies take place.

The remaining vestiges of Kinh Thien Palace are just the old foundation. The ground width of ​​41.5m, 57m long, and 2.3m high are enough to see the majestic scale of the old palace.

The most prominent is still the palace terrace in the south with 10 steps built of large stone box. Four stone dragons divided the terrace into 3 paths, so people name this area Dragon Shelf.

Here you will have the opportunity to admire the typical sculpture art of a dragon under the Le dynasty: large raised-high head of a dragon, large convex eyes, long branched horns, curled body with elaborately carved scales.

D67 House

d67 house Thang Long
D67 House | @markjlwang

Another work is not in the previous dynasties but built in the years of resistance against the US: D67 House, Zone A of the Ministry of Defense.

Connecting Kinh Thien Palace and the D67 House is a massive and solid tunnel system that can withstand bombs and heavy missiles.

Inside the cellar, there are a meeting room, secretarial room, machinery room, and air ventilation. All tunnel systems use electricity from the generator system imported from the Soviet Union.

The D67 House was the place where the historic decisions of the Vietnamese revolution were made: the General Attack of the 1968 Tet Offensive, the 1972 General Attack, and the Ho Chi Minh Campaign 1975.

What to eat at Imperial Citadel of Thang Long?

Around the ancient Imperial City of Thang Long, many famous local eateries are tasty and cheap, with a strong flavor of Hanoi such as:

  • Noodles Cao Ba Quat (38A Cao Ba Quat Street, Hanoi) or Bun Huyen Linh (136 Ngoc Ha Street, Hanoi)
  • Thang Beo – ear pig salad (10G Ton That Thiep Street, Hanoi)
  • Noodles, Hu Tiu & Hanoi spring rolls (96 Cua Bac Street, Hanoi)
  • Lan Anh Restaurant – Eel dishes (9 Le Duan Street, Hanoi)
  • Thai Food – Seafood noodle soup and Thai hotpot (46 Phan Dinh Phung Street, Hanoi)

Things to note when traveling to Thang Long Citadel

These are the rules that visitors must follow to avoid unnecessary troubles:

  • Take a tour according to the directions of the diagram.
  • Do not bring weapons, explosive substances, food with a bad smell into the relic.
  • Polite dress code, do not do offensive actions (littering, stepping on grass, climbing heritage, etc).
  • Big tour groups can contact the Explanation Guides room for services.
  • Filming and editing require permission from the Thang Long Heritage Conservation Center, Hanoi. You should ask allowance before filming.

FAQ about Thang Long Ancient Citadel, Hanoi:

When should I travel to Thang Long Citadel?

With a convenient location, you can visit Thang Long Citadel at any time of the year. But if you do not want to walk under the bright sun or wet rains, the autumn of Hanoi will be a perfect choice for you.

Which attractions can I visit besides Thang Long Citadel?

You can visit the nearby tourist destinations in Hanoi, such as Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, Hoan Kiem Lake, and the Literature of Temple.

How long should I spend at Thang Long Citadel?

The estimated duration to explore this ancient citadel is around 1 hour on average. However, it can take you longer if you want to spend time to taste coffee or discover more details of the ancient relics there.

When traveling to Thang Long Citadel, you will have a chance to explore history and old beautiful architecture, returning to the glorious dynasties of ancient kings in Vietnam.

With the above guides, Vietnamdrive hopes you feel confident to discover this ancient vestige and have more activities to do in Hanoi.

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    About the author

    The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.