This project, which includes the documentation & conservation of the south gate of the citadel, supports the Embassy's efforts lớn deepen people-to-people ties and focus on the future of U.S.-Vietnam relations.

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Built according to feng shui principles, the Ho Dynasty citadel testifies lớn the flowering of neo-Confucianism in late 14th-century Viet Nam.

Location: Thanh Hoa, Viet phái nam Organiser(s): Conservation Centre for Ho Citadel Funder(s): U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation Funding received: $92,500 Commencement Date: 09/2018 Project Status: Completed

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The Citadel of the Ho Dynasty comprises the remains of a late 14th-century capital of Vietnam.

Prime Minister Ho moved the capital from the vulnerable Hanoi (Thang Long) khổng lồ this more central countryside location. He also strengthened the position of neo-Confucianism within the state at the expense of Buddhism & Taoism. The thành phố was laid out in harmony with the landscape according khổng lồ strict feng shui principles. The walls were constructed from large blocks of stone, an answer to the invention of gunpowder in the hostile China.

3 Locations 8 nhận xét 32 Ratings 10 Connections 106 Visitors

Map of Citadel of the Ho Dynasty

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Martina Rúčková

3.00 Slovakia - 23-Jan-20 -


Ah, how I love the off-the-beaten-track WHS that confirm what Ivan & I always say: UNESCO takes you places. The drive from Bai Dinh should be a short one, it"s about 50 kms, but the roads are not the best & go through municipal areas, so it"s slow. We started early. Our driver took us lớn Vinh Luc where the citadel is located: we bought tickets at the ramp & the guard said we can enter by car, so we did. We spent some time at the museum containing artifacts discovered on site, then walked around the bank encircling the whole area - it"s a square 1 km by 1 km. We climed on đứng top of the three-arched gateway, walked under it, enjoyed the local scenery & then went on to lớn see the Altar.

That took us some time to find, because even though it"s marked on the maps, they are a bit deceiving. So we ended up walking up the hill khổng lồ some homestay with many barking dogs in cages, with our driver talking khổng lồ local owners who pointed us to the right direction. We entered the site through the green bank, past the careatker"s house. He was in shorts và t-shirt, smoking pipe, I guess wondering what kind of fools have decided to have a look, talked khổng lồ our driver and just waved for us lớn go and have a look. There are couple of levels to the whole structure, with the round altar at the top, but fortunately the whole site has info boards at different parts with text both in Vietnamese và English. Our driver had a look as well :) By the kết thúc of our exploration the caretaker, now dressed in his uniform, opened the temple for us, we had a look, signed the guestbook & left through the gate with fence having the UNESCO signs. It was an interesting visit, definitely. After that we continued on khổng lồ visit the Tran An national park.

Els Slots

3.00 The Netherlands - 30-Dec-18 -


The Citadel of the Ho Dynasty comprises the remains of a late 14th-century capital of Vietnam, built in full harmony with its surroundings following the neo-Confucian tradition. Most information that you will find about the site will be accompanied by a picture of that one iconic stone gate: the South Gate of the Citadel. But there is more to this than just “walls and gates”.

The WHS consists of 3 locations around the small thành phố of Vinh Loc: the Citadel, the phái nam Giao Altar and a part of the Outer Wall. At least 6 of the 7 reviewers before me seem to only have visited the Citadel và then often even just its South Gate. I knew I had khổng lồ put more effort into it lớn prevent a short và unsatisfying visit.

From Tam Coc where I was staying overnight, I hired a car + driver to take me to lớn Vinh Loc. It’s only a 58km drive but it took us 1.5 hours because of the heavy traffic and the slow passages through towns of all sizes. Already some 18km before Vinh Loc the WHS is advertised on road signs. In the town itself, there are no obvious signs anymore pointing lớn the citadel, but fortunately, my driver had been there before & drove straight to it. There’s an entrance fee of 40,000 dong (ca. 1.5 EUR) and there were some 20-30 other visitors, mostly locals with children.

I started my tour at the visitor center, which has a small exhibition of findings from the WH area. Lots of red tiles, nails, coins, some pottery & a quite magnificent Phoenix that once adorned the roof of a Ho Palace. I also bought a booklet there about the nam giới Giao Altar. The text came in both English và Vietnamese, which would later prove to lớn be handy for practical reasons as well.

The iconic South Gate is the main entrance to lớn the citadel. It can be climbed via a stairway - and that was what most visitors were doing (taking pictures of their loved ones standing on đứng đầu of the gate). Behind the gate, the large inner area of the citadel opens up. It is a square of 1x1km. All 4 cardinal directions still have their original gates và the citadel is fully encircled by a wall. As others have noticed the interior is now in use as agricultural land, which does give you some ´couleur locale´ to look at while walking the long stretch khổng lồ the other end of the citadel. Only a pair of stone dragons about halfway remains of the original setting.

The citadel used to be connected by an Imperial Way to lớn the most sacred place of the capital, Mount Don Son with the phái mạnh Giao altar. Visually, the connection from the South Gate is still there but the stone road has long been replaced by tarmac.

To reach the phái mạnh Giao Altar we used my just-acquired booklet khổng lồ ask passers-by for directions. It took us three tries, but we found it: first drive or walk from the citadel in the direction of the landmark Don Son, some 2km away on the other side of Vinh Loc town. The main road splits right before the mountain: take the right loop. After about 500m you will see signs pointing lớn the left, where you can find the entrance road to the nam Giao altar. The site lies some 700m further at the kết thúc of this road, on a dead-end street to lớn the right.

The phái nam Giao altar is the place where - according to lớn the Confucian tradition - Heaven & Earth met & the king annually prayed for the prosperity of his people, his dynasty and the state. This altar was only unearthed in 2004, after being unused for almost 6 centuries. I don’t think the site was officially open, but the guard directed us straight through the shrubs uphill khổng lồ the altar. The official entrance has a stone footpath & even an exhibition room, but the fence over there (with neat Unesco logos!) was locked.

The altar consists of a succession of 5 rectangular plateaus that gradually become narrower upwards. Completely on đứng top is a round altar that represents Heaven. On the right side of the path to the altar is a large stepwell in which the king cleansed himself before starting the rituals.

Although I enjoyed my half-day tour of this still nicely off-the-beaten-track area, I still am doubtful whether the Ho Citadel should ever have become a WHS: its short-lived state as the capital of Vietnam is no match for the already inscribed Thang Long & Hué & its Vietnamese adaptation of Chinese Confucian đô thị planning is very much a regional niche aspect. There are similar sites on the menu as well: Vat Phou with its processional walkway, Hué with its own (though later) phái mạnh Giao Altar & even the Jongmyo Shrine.

Read more from Els Slots here.

Frederik Dawson

2.00 Netherlands - 10-Oct-17 -


My third consecutive years visiting Vietnam gave me an opportunity khổng lồ tick off the last two, Ho Citadel & Trang An, to complete Vietnamese World Heritage Sites. Conveniently both sites are located near the thành phố of Ninh Binh, just 2 hours from Hanoi, & many tour agencies offered transportation service. After 4 hours from Hanoi, our driver, who rarely comprehended any English word và relied on google translation phầm mềm on his mobile, took me and my friends in front of the imposing ruined three arched gate of Ho Citadel.

At first glance, the site was extremely underwhelming, there was nothing except the gate in the middle of nowhere of endless rice fields. Fortunately that the gate was really photogenic và the size and engineering craftsmanship of the gate were quite impressive. We climbed khổng lồ the đứng top of the gate and found beautiful view of sea of golden almost harvestable rice fields, and from the đứng top we could see and understand the citadel square form & its surrounding phong thủy element of mountain và river. We spend only 30 minutes on Ho Citadel as there was nothing much khổng lồ see. Its small museum also closed without explanation & we decided not khổng lồ disturb locals who were harvesting rice in the middle of citadel.

Currently there are 3 citadels in the các mục of Vietnamese World Heritage Sites, Hue, Ho và Thang Long, the differences of these sites in terms of citadel gate và layout are hardly noticeable, so after have seen Hue and Thang Long, Ho Citadel offered nothing new and made the visit totally not worthwhile. Fortunately that the photogenic gate & the view of golden rice fields saved my visit to be quite memorable.

Bernard Joseph Esposo Guerrero

4.00 The Philippines - 23-Mar-17 -


Indeed, this place is off the beaten path và the only way that I could make renting a private oto worth it was by combining a visit here with a visit lớn Trang An - Hoa Lu - Van Long; thus, a 2D/1N arranged trip made ticking off two WH sites possible. Contrary lớn the other review that show only disappointment, I was in no doubt impressed by the relics of the Ho citadel. While it"s true that it"s really just walls & gates, one has khổng lồ go the màn chơi of architecture và construction engineering to appreciate its chất lượng values. The stones used, for example, are definitely of bigger sizes than from other ancient buildings in SE Asia. The way they were fit together also demonstrated high masonry skills as the stone blocks almost have no gaps between them. It is unfair, in my opinion, to lớn impose high expectations on the site as beauty and "grandness" are not really its strengths. But, the little details I observed, as well as its history, fairly justify its inscription. The rural environment in & around the citadel are also a big plus for the experience. Would I recommend it khổng lồ fellow WHS hunters? Yes.

PS. There is also a conservation centre beside the southern gate where one can see more info about works done on site and findings.

Michael Turtle

Australia - 14-Dec-16 -


The citadel is in a small town called Vinh Loc. I couldn’t find mention of any tours that go there & there is no direct public transport options for other cities where you might be travelling through. In the end, I found a local bus that took 90 minutes from a đô thị called Thanh Hoa, which I was not intending khổng lồ visit. It seemed like the easiest way, though, short of hiring a car & driver for a day. I guess I was hoping there might be a good payoff for all this effort.

There wasn’t. Not with the citadel itself, that is. I appreciate that this is a historically-significant site but the only thing that really remains is the large stone wall, about 900 metres long on each side. It’s an impressive wall và so I decide khổng lồ walk along it. In the centre is where the citadel’s buildings would once have been. However, now there is nothing left.

Read more from Michael Turtle here.

Pham Thi Hoa

Nam - 17-Feb-14 -

Ho Citadel is located in my trang chủ town. It is not easy khổng lồ go there if you are not a local person. Infact,every day, there are some oto which take people from Ha Noi to Ho Citadel & Ho Citadel lớn Ha Noi. It is very cheap. It is only 5$ for one person. If you come khổng lồ Ha noi and you like going lớn Ho Citadel but you don"t have a car, I can help you (show and may pick you up to lớn the car). My e-mail is: phamhoa9.9.1978

Nam Onrit

Thailand - 21-Jan-13 -

This citadel is the latest WHS of Vietnam. I had lớn try my best to visit there, because no tour operators or public transportation.

Finally, I decided khổng lồ go to Ninh Binh town the nearest point khổng lồ reach the citadel easiest way. From Ninh Binh, I chartered sedan oto with driver drove through many bustling villages for 1.30hours approx. The driver never talked to lớn my friend & me. I known later, he was stress out driving khổng lồ attraction he may not go there before.

The citadel have only a few evidences to lớn prove lớn be the ancient capital. There are well condition city walls and 4 gates. In the middle is paddy field, lotus ponds & dirt roads.

However, I love there. I"ve found surrounded villages are commune style housing. Quite and simple countryside with friendly farmers & villagers.

Vietnam is one of destination are talked about rip-off but not here. People seem not used khổng lồ foreigners but they are welcome.

In the WHS there were only 2 visitors, my friend and I wandering in the walls.

Although it have a few ancient things to explore but its history is interesting. You can read the brief & enjoy photos from my blog.

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John booth

New Zealand - 25-Mar-12 -


This site is in two parts, one each side of Vinh Loc village in the province of Thanh Hoa. The Citadel is almost a kilometer square surrounded by earth and masonry walls. In the centre of each side are masonry arched gateways. The area within the walls is now rice padi.