Seat of an Empire
Originally founded by the Ly Dynasty in the early 1000s, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long served as the center of the Vietnamese empire until the 19th century, when the capital moved to Hue. Several ancient structures remain here, the most notable of which is the flag tower. Each day the red banner with its bright yellow star still waves from the top.
The Defense of a Nation
Aside from imperial buildings, the Citadel also contains a museum that features interesting items excavated from the area–excavations that are still occurring today. And the Citadel’s storied history did not end with the empire. Many visitors come for the military bunkers where General Vo Nguyen Giap successfully led the campaign against the Americans during the Vietnam War.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is open every day except Mondays, and admission is only 30,000 dong per person. The Citadel is not far from other staples of Vietnamese history such as Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and the Presidential Palace.