The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a complex associated with the history of Thang Long (renamed as Hanoi in 1831). The original complex was built in 1009 when Ly Cong Uan the founder of the Ly Dynasty moved the capital from Ninh Binh to present day Hanoi. The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long has been rebuilt many times during its 10 centuries of history so the current complex is not 1000 years old but it has important significance to the history of Hanoi.

In 2010 it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is the architectural site of the old capital of Vietnam which originated in 1010. This site is one of the oldest centers of power in the world that has been in use without interruption.

The entrance to the complex is through the North Gate. The North Gate was built during the Nguyen Dynasty and includes the wall and upstairs lookout.

A small building on top of the entrance gate gives the complex a nice architectural look and provides a nice view to the surrounding area. I have included a couple of photos of views through archways of the building.

To the side of the main entrance gate is the main wall of the complex with a smaller ornate gate which is the exit to the compound.

Inside the complex there are several buildings that are currently being used as a museum for artifacts, a souvenir shop and refreshments. The buildings have been accented with modernized stylistic paintings and banners which enhance the look of the buildings.

Outside of the buildings there are several interesting artifacts. Two notable items are the giant drum and giant bell.

The complex is decorated with live plants, artificial lotus flowers and religious flags which can be seen in the next two photos.

One of the most significant buildings of the complex was the Kinh Thien Palace which was constructed in 1428. Unfortunately, the palace no longer remains but the steps to the palace still exists. The dragon stairs that lead to the palace are roped off to visitors and can be seen in the following photos.

At the top of the dragon stairs is a small pavilion that is elaborately decorated with a place to offer incenses.

Aside from the entry gates at the front of the complex, there are other gates around the exterior wall of the complex. Two of these gates are shown in the next two photos.

The Dust on My Shoes

Many times when I travel to see famous places, I find myself in overcrowded places with people that only want to be there because it is a famous place. The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is not one of those places. It is in the heart of Hanoi but it is a place that is an escape from the busy lifestyle of Hanoi and from the highly visited tourist sites.

The museum is nice to walk through and see the artifacts from the time periods represented during the span of the complex and the compound is very peaceful and relaxing.

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a short walk away from the Ho Chi Minh Museum and Mausoleum so make sure to add this site to your agenda when visiting this part of Hanoi.

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