HISTORIC SITES – VIET NAM'S LANDMARKS
THE CENTRAL SECTOR OF THE IMPERIAL CITADEL OF THANG LONG
The Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - Ha Noi is the relic complex associated with the history of Thang Long - Ha Noi. These grand structures were built through many dynasties and have become the most important sites among historic relics in Viet Nam. In December 2002, an archaeological excavation was carried out on an area of 19,000 m2 in Ba Dinh, the political center of Ha Noi. This excavation, the biggest in Viet Nam and in Southeast Asia, revealed remains of the Thang Long Citadel in its development of over 13 consecutive centuries. Unique architectural relics and millions of valuable artifacts found in this archaeological excavation reflected historical development from the 12th century to early 20th century. On 1 August 2010, the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.
COMPLEX OF THE DIEN BIEN PHU VICTORY RELICS
The complex of the Dien Bien Phu victory relics is located in Dien Bien valley (now is Dien Bien city), surrounded by mountains. It has a length of 18 km and a width of 6 km. The typical relics include Him Lam Hill where Vietnamese troops fought the first battle of the Dien Bien Phu campaign on 13 March 1954; Independence Hill where a fierce fighting took place and Vietnamese troops liberated the hill on 15 March 1954; the hills C, D and E where Vietnamese troops and French expeditionary forces exchanged fierce fightings during the Dien Bien Phu campaign. The Dien Bien Phu Victory Monument in the historical complex is a symbol of the Vietnamese people's determination to fight and win. Dien Bien Phu Victory Museum displays more than 500 exhibits, paintings and documentary photos which relate to the Dien Bien Phu campaign and the arduous struggle of the Vietnamese people and army to gain the glorious victory on 7 May 1954, ending the country's resistance war against the French colonialists.
CO LOA CITADEL
Co Loa Citadel is located in Dong Anh district, Ha Noi City. In 208 B.C., after uniting Lac Viet and Au Viet tribes to form a new Kingdom, Au Lac, King An Duong Vuong chose this site as the capital and built Co Loa Citadel. The current preserved historic site covers more than 830 hectares. The Citadel was built in spiral shape which explains why it is called Loa Thanh. It had 9 rings, deep water trench surrounded in outside circle. Nowadays, Co Loa Citadel remains 3 land rings: outside citadel (perimeter of 8 km), the middle citadel (polygon with a perimeter of 6.5 km) and inside citadel (rectangular with a perimeter of 1.6 km). The Citadel wall today has an average height of 4-5 meters, some of them even reach to 12 meters high; the Citadel's foundation is 20-30 meters wide. The Citadel boasts about 60 historical sites of artistic architectures, historical and archaeological values. It is also an invaluable archaeological site associated with ancient cultures of Vietnamese people such as Son Vi culture, Phung Nguyen culture, Dong Dau culture and Go Mun culture. Dong Son culture flourished with typical archaeological sites like Dong Vong, Bai Men, Dinh Chien, Dinh Trang, Ma Tre, Inner Citadel, Middle Citadel, Outer Citadel, Xuan Kieu, Nhoi Commune, Thuong Temple, Tien Hoi, May Road and Vuc Bridge...
TEMPLE OF LITERATURE (VAN MIEU – QUOC TU GIAM)
The Temple of Literature, located to the south of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long (Ly Dynasty), is the combination of the two monuments: Van Mieu and Quoc Tu Giam. Van Mieu was built in 1070 by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong in dedication to the Confucius (Khong Tu) and in honor of Viet Nam's finest scholars and teacher Chu Van An, a moral figure in Vietnamese education. In 1076, under Ly Nhan Tong's reign, the Quoc Tu Giam was built next to Van Mieu and became the first university in Viet Nam to train intellects for the country. Over the past 1,000 years, Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam has been seen as an educational and cultural symbol of Viet Nam. It is a symbol of the nation's tradition of respect for teachers and promotion of education.
There are 82 stone steles engraved with the names of doctors who obtained the doctoral titles at royal examinations under Later Le and Mac Dynasties (1442-1779). All of these steles are in flat beds and curved heads and placed on turtles' backs. The steles are unique ones in the world which have inscriptions recording not only the names of the laureates of royal examinations held through nearly 300 years but also information on history of the royal examinations, the successive dynasties' conceptions of education, training and employing intellects. After nearly 1,000 years of history, the Temple of Literature is still preserving its ancient architectural styles of many feudal dynasties and is now considered as one of the finest historical and cultural sites of Ha Noi and of the whole country.
CITADEL OF HO DYNASTY
Located in Vinh Loc district, Thanh Hoa province, the Citadel of the Ho Dynasty was built by Ho Quy Ly, who was the highest-ranking mandarin of the Tran Dynasty at the time. After the three-month construction of the Citadel (from January to March 1397), King Tran Thuan Tong decided to choose Thanh Hoa as the capital instead of the Citadel of Thang Long (Ha Noi). In the second month of the year of the Dragon (1400), Ho Quy Ly took the throne from Tran Dynasty, renamed the country into Dai Ngu (1400-1407). The Citadel of Ho Dynasty became the official Citadel. The Citadel is also referred to the name as An Ton, Tay Do, Tay Kinh, Tay Nhai and Tay Giai. The Citadel of Ho Dynasty is known as the only stone Citadel remaining in Southeast Asia. Thanks to its unique building techniques and sustainable construction materials, especially the large stone blocks, the Citadel has been well preserved, while its natural landscape has remained unchanged. It is among few relics that have not been adversely impacted by urbanization. On 27 June 2011, UNESCO recognized the Citadel of Ho Dynasty as a World Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
HOI AN ANCIENT TOWN
Hoi An Ancient Town is located in Quang Nam province, about 30 km south of Da Nang city. At the end of the 16th century, Hoi An used to be an international trade hub on the East-West sea route, a bustling trading port in Dang Trong region of Viet Nam under the reign of the Nguyen Lords. Nowadays, the original architecture of the ancient town of Hoi An has still been preserved, including houses, temples, pagodas, wells, bridges, ancestor worship places, ports and markets... This town is considered as a living museum of architecture and urban lifestyle.
Besides the cultural values from its diversified architecture, Hoi An still maintained a huge intangible cultural foundation. Hoi An has become an attractive tourist destination thanks to its deep-rooted customs, spiritual activities, traditional folk art and cultural festivals together with its poetic and picturesque natural landscape, traditional handicraft villages and famous local specialties. In December 1999, UNESCO recognized the Hoi An Ancient Town as a World Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
COMPLEX OF HUE MONUMENTS
The Complex of Hue Monuments consists of historical and cultural sites built during the Nguyen Dynasty from the early 19th to the mid-20th century in Hue ancient capital (now is Thua Thien Hue province). Situated on the northern bank of Perfume river, the Complex of Hue Monuments occupies a total area of over 500 hectares with a system of three circles of ramparts, namely Hue Capital Citadel (Kinh Thanh Hue), Hue Royal Citadel (Hoang Thanh Hue) and Forbidden Citadel (Tu Cam Thanh Hue).
A number of structures built along this axis in harmony with their natural surroundings include Nghinh Luong Dinh, Phu Van Lau, Ky Dai, Ngo Mon Gate, Thai Hoa palace and Can Chanh Palace... The Complex of Hue Monuments represents the creativeness of Vietnamese people, the development of Vietnamese art, architecture and sculpture throughout a long period in the country's history. In December 1993, UNESCO recognized the Complex of Hue Monuments as a World Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
MY SON SANCTUARY
My Son Sanctuary is located in a small valley belonging to Duy Phu commune, Duy Xuyen district, Quang Nam province. This valley is about 2 km in diameter, possessing more than 70 architectural works located on 9 hills. My Son is considered as one of the centers of temples of Hinduism in Southeast Asia. It used to be a Hindu sanctuary of the Kingdom of Champa. As said, each King, after taking the throne, paid a visit to My Son to celebrate a holy purge ceremony, donate gifts and build temples. My Son is the only place where Cham art flourished without interruption from the 7th century to the 13th century.
The temples in My Son were built into groups that basically followed the same model. Each group comprises a main sanctuary (kalan), surrounded by towers and auxiliary monuments. The main sanctuary which is a symbol of Meru Mountain - the center of the universe, home of Hindu gods - is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The auxiliary temples worship the gods who take care of the sky directions. Besides, the easements are temples with tiled roofs, where pilgrims prepared and stored sacrifice. In December 1999, My Son Sanctuary was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
CU CHI TUNNELS
Cu Chi, which is about 40 km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, is a well-known historic site. Construction of the Cu Chi tunnels began between 1946 and 1948. Local people and Viet Minh soldiers used the tunnels as hiding spots during the French ground sweeps. This is the unique work with a system of underground tunnels with many floors and corners like a spider net of more than 200 km. The tunnels have places for sheltering, having meetings and fighting against the enemy. Cu Chi Tunnels are divided into two places which are Ben Duoc Tunnel and Ben Dinh Tunnel. Ben Duoc Tunnel is Zone Party Committee Base and Saigon-Gia Dinh Military Zone, which is protected in Phu Hiep hamlet, Phu My Hung village. Ben Dinh Tunnel is Cu Chi district Party Committee, which is protected in Ben Dinh hamlet, Nhuan Duc village. Cu Chi Tunnels represent the symbol of the determination, intelligence and pride of the Cu Chi people and signify the revolutionary heroism of Viet Nam. Cu Chi was titled "Cu Chi land of steel and copper wall" by the National Liberation Front of South of Viet Nam. Cu Chi Tunnels have gone into the heroic fighting history of the Vietnamese people as a legend of the 20th century and become a well-known place in the world.