Thang Long Imperial Citadel - Hanoi's Most Popular Areas

The Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long (Vietnamese: Hoàng thành Thăng Long; Hán-Nôm: 皇城昇龍) is a complex of historic imperial buildings located in the centre of Hanoi, Vietnam. It is also known as Hanoi Citadel.

  Thursday, 6/02/2020, 00:37
The royal enclosure was first built during the Lý dynasty (1010) and subsequently expanded by the Trần, Lê and finally the Nguyễn dynasty. It remained the seat of the Vietnamese court until 1810, when the Nguyễn dynasty chose to move the capital to Huế. The ruins roughly coincide with the Hanoi Citadel today.

The royal palaces and most of the structures in Thăng Long were in varying states of disrepair by the late 19th century with the upheaval of the French conquest of Hanoi. By the 20th century many of the remaining structures were torn down. Only in the 21st century are the ruin foundations of Thăng Long Imperial City systematically excavated.

In mid-1945 the Citadel was used by the Imperial Japanese Army to imprison over 4000 French colonial soldiers captured during the Japanese coup d'état in French Indochina in March 1945.

The central sector of the imperial citadel was listed in UNESCO's World Heritage Site on July 31, 2010 at its session in Brazil, as "The Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long – Hanoi".



The royal palaces and edifices were largely destroyed in the late 19th century. The few remaining structures within the royal compound are the Doan Mon gate, marking the southern entrance to the royal palace, the Flag Tower, the steps of Kinh Thiên Palace and the Hậu Lâu (Princess' Palace).

Remains of the Imperial City were discovered on the site of the former Ba Đình Hall when the structure was torn down in 2008 to make way for a new parliament building. Various archaeological remains unearthed were brought to the National Museum to be exhibited. Thus far only a small fraction of Thăng Long has been excavated.

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 08:00 – 17:00
Location: 9 Hoang Dieu, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
Price Range: VND 30,000


The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, is an intriguing relic of Vietnam’s history and, signifying its historical and cultural importance, was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. Also known as the Hanoi Citadel, many artefacts and items dating back to between the 6th and 20th centuries were excavated in 2004, including foundations of old palaces, ancient roads, ponds and wells.

On top of these discoveries, archaeologists also found bronze coins, ceramics and pottery from China and many places in Asia, all of which demonstrate a close trading relationship in the area. Visitors should head for the display room that features interesting excavated items and mock-ups of the citadel itself.



The ancient site was the political centre of the country for 13 consecutive centuries and served as the capital of Vietnam for eight centuries. A notable attraction in the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was the Hanoi Flag Tower, a renovated 40-metre-tall stone fortress offering expansive views of Ba Dinh Square and Hanoi City Centre.

Located in Ba Dinh District, entrance to the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is priced at VND 30,000 and it is open from 08:00 to 17:00 every day except Monday. This prominent site is also within a 15-minute walk from attractions such as Quan Thanh Temple, Vietnam Military History Museum and Cua Bac Church.
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