Co Loa Citadel (Hanoi, Vietnam)

Co Loa Citadel (Hanoi, Vietnam)

Co Loa Citadel was built in a spiral – shaped type (hence called Loa citadel - a speaker shape citadel). According to the legend, the citadel has 9 walls, and is surrounded by deep moats which could let boats transfer easily. Nowadays, there are only 3 earth walls left, with total length of 16 km: the Outer Wall (Thành ngoại) with perimeter of 8km, the Middle Wall (Thành trung) has polygonal shape and perimeter of 6.5 km and the Center Wall (Thành nội) has rectangular shape, perimeter of 1.6 km.

Located on the triangle terrain of 03 communes of Co Loa, Duc Tu and Viet Hung in Dong Anh district, which is 17km away from the northern of Hanoi City. Co Loa Citadel is completely different to other historical relics, because it is a special complex spreading throughout a very large area of approximately 500 ha.

In the centre of the citadel are temples dedicated to the rule of King An Duong Vuong (257–208 BC), who founded the legendary Thuc dynasty, and his daughter My Nuong (Mi Chau). Legend tells that My Nuong showed her father’s magic crossbow trigger (which made him invincible in battle) to her husband, the son of a Chinese general. He stole it and gave it to his father. With this not-so-secret weapon, the Chinese defeated An Duong Vuong, beginning 1000 years of Chinese occupation.

This relic is considered as the special cultural cradle of both Hanoi City and Vietnam generally. In the past, Co Loa was the capital of Au Lac Kingdom – An Duong Vuong dynasty (3rd century BC) and of Dai Viet kingdom – Ngo Quyen dynasty (10th century). Co Loa is avestige and prominent evidence that still exist until now. Co Loa Citadel is regarded as “the most ancient citadel with largest size and highest scale, its design is also listed into the most unique citadel in Vietnam’s history of constructing ramparts during the old days”.

Many archaeological relics have been discovered in Co Loa, reflecting the continuously development of Vietnam nation from its dawning period in the Bronze Age, Stone Age to Iron Age while its peak development was Dong Son culture, which was still considered as the Red river civilization in prehistoric time of Vietnam nation.

How to get there

The Citadel can be reached by leaving Hanoi to the northeast. Take the Chuong Duong bridge over the Hong River out of town to where the road joins up with Highway 1. You'll cross another river 11km later via an old, narrow steel bridge. Take the immediate left, and follow that road as it meets Highway 3, keep straight, and after about 4km there's a sign on the left marking the turn for the site on the right. Turn off for the Citadel. It's another kilometre further down that road and well marked.

Public bus 46 (5000d) runs here every 15 minutes from My Dinh bus station in Hanoi. Buses run regularly from Hanoi's Luong Yen bus station to My Dinh. From the Co Loa bus station, cross the bridge, turn left and walk for around 500m.

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
Address: Dong Anh district
More information: 16km outside Hanoi
Opening hours: 08:00 to 17:00
Entrance fee: Admission per person/car 10,000/20,000d

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