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Ho Dynasty Citadel recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site

One of four gates of Ho Dynasty Citadel, recognized as World Culture Heritage by UNESCO on June 27

The Ho Dynasty Citadel has been granted world heritage status by UNESCO, putting it on par with such wonders as the Grand Canyon and the Pyramids of Giza.

The monument, located in the northern province of Thanh Hoa's Vinh Loc District, was selected together with three other relics from among 35 candidates this year.

Vuong Van Kiet, head of Vietnam's delegation at UNESCO's 35th meeting in Paris on June 27, says the best way to enliven and promote the building is by protecting and preserving the site.

According to Kiet, the Ho Dynasty Citadel will become a more attractive destination for tourists if locals respect it as their own property.  The citadel is surrounded by three mountains and two rivers.

More than 600 years ago, Vietnamese people mastered the skill of cutting and assembling stones, and built the citadel to an average height of five to six meters by overlapping green block granite, without using adhesive. The structure includes three parallel walls and four separate gates. Round stones were used as levers to move giant granite blocks of 10 to 26 tons in weight.

In 1397, Ho Quy Ly (1336-1407), the highest-ranking general of the Tran Dynasty, ordered this complex construction in plans for a new central government before dethroning King Tran and declaring himself the emperor in 1400.

Qui Ly, Ho Dynasty's founder, brought new architectural ideas to the construction process.


UNESCO team impressed with Ho Dynasty citadel
Built to last

During an invasion by China in 1407, Ming troops destroyed palaces inside the citadel, captured Qui Ly and took him prisoner in China. The citadel's large stone structure remains undamaged today, making it a unique site in Southeast Asia.

During a visit last January, experts from UNESCO were impressed by the condition of the building.  After more than 600 years, the artifact remains intact and the mystery of its construction still endures.

So far, Vietnam's seven World Heritage Sites include Ha Long Bay, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Hoi An Ancient Town, My Son Sanctuary, Complex of Hue Monuments, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - Hanoi, and Ho Dynasty Citadel.