The citadel of the Hồ dynasty is located in Thanh Hóa province in the north of Vietnam and was completed at the beginning of the 15th century as the seat of the Vietnamese emperor. The mighty outer walls and massive gates can still be admired today.
The citadel of the Hồ dynasty with the associated historical imperial city is located on the west bank of the Sông Mã in Thanh Hóa province in northern Vietnam. The citadel dates back to the early 15th century and covers an area of 140 hectares. 20 hectares of the total area were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2011.
The citadel was built from 1397 and completed after 4 years of construction during the Hồ Dynasty, the shortest dynasty in Vietnam (1400 to 1407). Two years later, the complex was expanded again. Its location about 150 kilometres from the Vietnamese capital Hanoi was strategically extremely favourable and was used more as a military than a political base. Surrounded by mountains and rivers, it was easy to defend and had an excellent connection by sea at the confluence of the Buoi River and the Ma River.
It is also known as "Tây Đô Castle". The almost square citadel has a side length of 870 or 880 metres and is built of massive stone blocks from the surrounding mountains. The hewn ashlars were put together in impressive masterly work without any mortar.
Sights in the Hồ Dynasty Citadel
The boundary wall with its four gates is pretty much the only structure of the citadel that has survived to this day. The Nam Giao altar can also still be visited today.
The 7-8 metre high wall is pierced by a gate in all directions, which have a height of 6 to 10 and a width of 20 to 35 metres. The most spectacular of these is the South Gate, which most impressively displays the art of the master builders of the Hồ dynasty at that time. The rest is just ruins.
Nevertheless, the enormous dimensions of the former seat of power can still be guessed at. The remains of the citadel from the Ho dynasty still bear witness to the heyday of neo-Confucianism. It is clear to see that the complex was designed according to the findings of the Chinese spatial harmony theory Feng Shui.