The Heart of Hanoi

Gate of Doan Mon citadel

If you plan to travel to Hanoi, you must see Hoang Thanh Thang Long (The Imperial City of Thanh Long) – an exquisite beauty with an extensive history. Go back in time to witness the splendor of Vietnamese history and culture. Relish in the various art works and architectural accomplishments from the 7th to the twentieth century.

A Vietnamese girl in traditional attire at the gate of Doan Mon Citadel – Hoang Thanh Thang Long (photo collection)

Pigeons Greet Tourists on Arrival at the Gate of Doan Mon Citadel – Hoang Thanh Thang Long (photo collection) 

Where is Hoang Thanh Thang Long?

The Imperial City – Hoang Thanh Thang Long is located at 19C Hoang Dieu, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam. It is just 1.3 km from Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum; 2 km from Hoan Kiem Lake and 3 km from Hanoi Old Quarter. 

In addition to private transportation, visitors can take bus number 22, which stops at the stop in front of Hoang Thanh (The Imperial City). 

How much are the tickets? 

The ticket price is 30k for adults; 15k for adults over 60 years old and students (must have student cards). Children under 15 years old and people with meritorious services to the revolution are exempted from admission tickets. 

At the ticket purchase area, in addition to the magnetic card ticket, visitors are also provided with more information about Hoang Thanh, including diagrams and the history of Hoang Thanh Thang Long.

Hoang Thanh (The Imperial Citadel) Opens from 8:00 am – 11:30 am, and then from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. It is Opens every weekday, except Mondays.

Here are 8+ Special Things to See at The Imperial Citadel in Hanoi

The Imperial Citadel of Hanoi will give you glimpses into the long-standing cultural traditions of the Vietnamese people who lived by the Red River Delta throughout the 13th century. These include the pre-Thang Long period, the Dinh-Tien-Le period, and the Ly-Tran-Le-Nguyen period.

With such a long and prosperous history, the Hanoi Imperial Citadel displays brilliant art and architectural artifacts that attest to its colorful history and culture. The entire Citadel area stretches out over a large block of land and there is a diverse range of interesting areas to explore.  You’ll feel a real sense of what Vietnam is and was all about when you make your way into its gates. If you get the chance to come to Hanoi, the Imperial Citadel is a must-see! 

Inside Hoang Thanh Thang Long

Inside Hoang Thanh Thang Long

1. Flower garden leading to Doan Mon Citadel

From the ticketing area, visitors can usher inside, and begin to be transported back in time. The first place is a flower garden leading to the gate of Doan Mon Citadel. At the foot of the door is a flock of pigeons that can be a lot of fun for the kids. Moving up above the gate, overlooking the whole scene, on the opposite side you can see a tall tower displaying Hanoi’s national flag.

Children play with pigeons at the gate of Doan Mon citadel (photo collection)

The Hanoi National Flag as seen from Hoang Thanh Thang Long (photo collection)

2. Water Puppet Show Area

Right behind Doan Mon gate, is the water puppetry arena. On special days of the year,  folk performances are held here, so if you’re lucky enough to be present on one of these days, it’s a great presentation of traditional Vietnamese culture! 

3. The Archaeological Site at 18 Hoang Dieu

The Archaeological site 18 Hoang Dieu includes the bottom floor, an eastern part of Dai La Citadel, the upper floor is the Ly and Tran Palaces, followed by the central part of the Eastern Palace. The Le Dynasty Palace can be seen up the top.

4. The Antiquities Sightseeing Area 

The sightseeing area is a place not to be missed. The delicate, elegant, and splendid beauty of the artifacts here are simply phenomenal and will leave you in awe. 

The dragons in the porcelain cup appear only in the right lighting conditions.

5. Kinh Thien (The King’s Working Room) 

The meeting/working room occupies the central position of the relic. Unfortunately, the remains of this historical space are just its foundations; Luckily, the dragons created from monolithic rock (in the 15th century of the Le Dynasty) in the terraces are still intact. The delicate beauty of the dragon pair not only shows the brilliant development of ancient handicrafts, but also reflects the majestic scale of the Kinh Thien Palace at that time.

This dragon sculpture is made of monolithic stone and sits on the edge of the Kinh Thien Palace.

6. Folk painting display area

Bright, colorful folk paintings, with diverse themes, and vivid and pristine drawings show the splendor of traditional folk painting art. Standing in front of each picture, watching silently… It’s easy to experience peace and joy in these moments and perhaps gain a sense of appreciation for Vietnamese folk! 

7. House D67

Come to the Military Headquarters – The D67 Building (Zone A) The Ministry of Defense, the Politburo, and the Central Military Commission have made historic decisions here, all which lead to the victory of Vietnam during the Vietnam-American War in 1975. 

Beneath the building is a bomb-proof bunker. The leaders had to endure 12 days and nights under hear in order to survive the devastating American bombs. You are able to read many personal stories and sorrowful tales of the Vietnamese people and the troops. Freedom in this country has been bought with blood and life! Visiting the D67 house, seeing the letters, and writings first hand gives a visceral sense of the lives that were affected during this devastating time. 

8. Other places to visit.

Other locations at Hoang Thanh Thang Long include:

– Hau Lau also known as Lau Tinh Bac. 

– The North Gate: It is one of the five gates in the Citadel and was built during the Nguyen Dynasty.

The Conclusion 

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is not only for those who love history but also a must-visit for those who love architecture, culture, and art. Believe me, the experience will not only enhance your knowledge but also touch your heart.