The Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long


Located at the center of Hanoi, the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long or ‘Hoàng Thành Thăng Long’ in Vietnamese has been well known as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hanoi. The famous destination becomes one of the 10 outstanding national heritage sites officially announced by the Prime Minister in 2009. What’s more, in 2010, it was also proudly proclaimed as one of the World Heritage by World Heritage Committee of UNESCO. That is the reason why the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long has been highly recommended for both locals and foreigners tourists as one of the destinations in their Hanoi day tours. Now, let’s take a look at this wonderful site to get more information to make your Hanoi tour with your family and friends more special and unique.


The Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

History of the Citadel

Being one of the best places in Hanoi day tours, the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is located in Quan Thanh and Dien Bien wards, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. Covering a large area of about 200,000 square meters, the Citadel amazingly possesses a great number of valuable cultural and historical relics under the dynasties of Ly, Tran, and Le. Additionally, it has existed for more than 10 centuries in Thang Long – the previous name of Hanoi.

Thang Long Citadel was erected in the Ly Dynasty (1009 – 1225) in order to replace the old Dai La Citadel. It was still in use under the Tran Dynasty, Le So Dynasty, and Mac Dynasty. However, in the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945), Thang Long Citadel was only used by the General Governor of the North meanwhile the country’s capital was moved to Phu Xuan, Hue. What’s more, King Minh Mang of the Nguyen Dynasty altered the name of Thang Long to Bac Thanh and then to Hanoi Citadel in 1805 when a significant reform was implemented.

The architectural values of the Citadel

There are three surrounding walls in the ancient Citadel. The most inner wall, also the smallest one called Purple Forbidden Citadel (Tu Cam Thanh) was where the kings and their families lived. The second one – the court affairs zone was named Imperial Citadel (La Thanh). The last one was Imperial City (La Thanh) where normal people were inhabited. Additionally, it used to have a lot of gates but only Quan Chuong Gate has been preserved up to now.

Moreover, the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long possesses not only other remarkable architecture but also a lot of cultural and archaeological values of each dynasty with a great number of sculptures.

Relic sites

The Central Sector of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long still remains some relics after over a thousand years of history.

Archaeological Site at 18 Hoang Dieu Street

Covering the large area of more than 45,000 square meters, the site is about 100 meters to the west of Kinh Thien Palace. A lot of architectural artifacts and vestiges which are largely ceramic and porcelain wares utilized through numerous era have been placed there.

Kinh Thien Palace

Kinh Thien Palace was built in the heart of the Imperial Citadel. The French colonial army ruined the palace other than two sets of stone dragon sculptures. Afterward, they decided to construct a house which has 2 floors with 7 rooms on the foundation of the old palace. The place named Dragon House was the headquarters of the French artillery. After the Vietnamese government won the freedom of Hanoi in 1954, the house was used by the Vietnamese People’s Army as the general headquarters. Nowadays, Dragon House becomes a great place for both domestic and international tourists in Hanoi group tours to visit and explore many stages of the country’s history.


Kinh Thien Palace

Doan Mon Gate

As the prime gate of Forbidden Citadel, Doan Mon directly faces the South. It was built in U-shape with stones and large bricks and is about 46 meters long, 26 meters wide and 6 meters high. It is a three-floor construction. The first floor consists of 5 doors, of which the central and biggest door was only used by the kings. The second one is covered by a railing. And there is a pavilion built in gazebo architecture with a two-layer roof on the highest floor. Tourist may have a chance to enjoy parts of the Citadel while exploring Doan Mon.


Doan Mon

  • Opening hours: 8.00am – 5.00pm (except Mondays)
  • Entrance Fee:

Children (under 15 years old): Free

Adults: VND 30,000/person

The Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang is certainly a great stop for you and your partners to come and explore its beauty in your Hanoi day tours.

Author Since: Jan 16, 2019

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