10.12.2015 - 10.12.2015 22 °C
Vietnam has lots of similarities in comparison to its northern neighbour, China due to the close geographical location between the two countries as well as the historical events that took place many years ago. As such, there are many influence that can be seen so closely related between Vietnam and China including the costumes, food, culture, political structures, religious belief and family customs. One of the most important and significant political structures that was being so closely associated between these 2 countries was the imperial dynasties that ruled the country over a period of time. These dynastic period has cast such great impact on the history of China and to lesser extent Vietnam, that it is very important for the government of the day in both countries preserved the buildings and structures such as royal palaces, artefacts and antiques from the imperial dynasties era. Not only these historical structures and items were invaluable for purpose of providing the insights and knowledge on the history of the country, they also served as source of tourism products where visitors could come and visit as well as gained further in-depths information on how these historic place, buildings, structures, artefacts and antiques have shaped the history background of Vietnam. In China, the Forbidden City which highlights the Imperial Palace has been such an iconic landmark that Beijing, the capital of China is Forbidden City and Forbidden City is Beijing so much so that if there was no Forbidden City, there was no Beijing or even China entirely.
One of the side entrance to Thang Long Citadel
Lenin statue park opposite the Flag Tower, Hanoi
As for Vietnam, though its imperial dynasties structures and era were not that well known as compared to that of China, it is still worth to note that the the country had gone through several period of dynastic era which include the successful attempts to fight off the dominations of China's imperial dynasties. One of the most significant historical Vietnamese royal dynasty structures that were being preserved was the Imperial Citadel in Hue province in central Vietnam. There were also several royal tombs of the Vietnamese dynasties that were preserved within Hue as well. In Hanoi, there was a Imperial Palace, named Thang Long Citadel that was only being revealed to the public and foreign visitors quite recently.
The Flag Tower
THE MAIN GATE @ THANG LONG CITADEL
This imperial citadel's structure has most parts of its palace buildings lost and what can be seen now and particularly the most and only impressive parts in the eyes of the visitors would be the main entrance wall and gates, which overlooks a large and wide open field. Adjacent to Thang Long Citadel was what known as the Flag Tower, which also housed the Military Museum within the same area. As I walked further inside from the main gate of the palace, there was a 2 storey colonial style building in rectangular shape, which actually displays many important artefacts and antiques from Vietnam's imperial dynasties periods. There was also a very old single storey building nearby which also being used as an exhibition hall.
THE IMPRESSIVE MAIN GATE OF THANG LONG CITADEL
Further inside from these exhibition halls at the end of the palace ground, was the Princess Pagoda, which was a built during the Nguyen Dynasty to accommodate the concubines. These pagoda has 3 levels and has been damaged before it was restored during the French colonial period. In 1998, excavation works on the grounds around the pagoda found many relics during the several dynasties that rule Vietnam. There were artefacts and porcelains found.
THE EXHIBITION HALL BUILDINGS @ THANG LONG CITADEL & SOME ARTEFACTS ON DISPLAY
THE PRINCESS PAGODA @ THANG LONG CITADEL
The most surprising findings while touring Thang Long Citadel was the D67 Building and D67 Bunker which were located close to each other. The D67 Building is a single storey house constructed as a Headquarters of Vietnam's People Army. The house was converted to a large meeting room complete with long table and chairs arranged as well as name of each of the military's generals and respective heads. This meeting room was used by Vietnam's People Army during the revolution period in fighting the colonisation of America. The D67 Bunker was actually a secret military operational room during Vietnam War period, which has staircase leading to the underground area which has several rooms. There were also doors to access to each of the rooms which also acted as additional security or preventive equipment from easy penetration by the enemies. The rooms include a meeting room, equipment room as well as communication room. There were also military and telecommunication items being displayed in some of the rooms within the D67 Bunker. The D67 Bunker was built to be bomb proof, with thick layer of walls and fitted with metal doors.
Overall, the visit to Thang Long Citadel was a little disappointed because expectation was that, this could be another impressive imperial citadel just like the one in Hue. Nevertheless, it was still an exciting excursion and to gain some knowledge about some other history informations such as the D67 Building and Bunker.
The upper level of the Thang Long Citadel main gate
The main gate of Thang Long Citadel that overlooks an open field and the Flag Tower