Exploring a mystical beauty of the Vietnam’s oldest citadel

Nga Do
Co Loa was chosen to be the capital of the state of Au Lac. Thuc Phan An Duong Vuong was remembered for building the Co Loa citadel and for ruling Au Lac for 50 years, 3rd century B.C. Co Loa Citadel, located in Dong Anh district, is one of the most attactive destinations in Hanoi capital. The Co Loa Citadel regarded by scholars as “the oldest and most substantial citadel with one of the most original architectural styles in the Vietnamese aged-old traditions of citadel construction”. With the beauty of ancient and solemnity, Co Loa Citadel can make everyone come here unforgettable. Co Loa is located 17km away from Hanoi to the North and Co Loa relic consists of an area of 830 ha for conversation in the Master Plan, well–known as a Special Cultural Relic of Hanoi.

Exploring a mystical beauty of the Vietnam’s oldest citadel 1
Photo by vuthianh
The  Co Loa Citadel was listed as a national relic site by the Ministry of Culture and Information in 1962 and was recognized by the Government as a special national relic site in 2012. Tourist should visit the Exhibition Center of materials, artifacts, and  archaeological of the Co Loa Citadel to understand meaning and value of the site. Co Loa used to be the centre of the civil and military capital of the state of Au Lac during the period of King An Dương. It was also the capital city of the monarchical state under the rule of Ngo Quyen. This is a site of especially important historical and cultural values. Currently, the relic site houses many types of original patrimony, tangible and intangible alike, which was associated with the early days of nation-building. The most typical relic that remains to date is the Co Loa Citadel which feature three rounds of walls namely inner wall, middle wall and outer wall (thành Nội, thành Trung và thành Ngoại), measuring about 16 kilometres. At the centre of the citadel is a complex of relics, including Đền Thượng (Thuong Temple) w orshiping An Duong Vuong, Đình Ngự triều (Court Communal House), My Chau Temple, and Bao Son Pagoda, among others. 

According to the legend, Genius Kim Quy, a Golden Tortoise, gave Thuc Phan (An Duong Vuong) a magic crossbow which could kill tens of thousands of enemy soldiers at a shot. However, the King’s daughter My Chau told the secret of her father's magic crossbow to her husband Trong Thuy, the son of rebel Chinese general Trieu Da, and thereby unwittingly enabled Trieu Da to conquer Co Loa in 208 B.C. Learned of the reason for his defeat, King An Duong is said to have killed his daughter and then committed suicide. Nowadays, in Co Loa citadel, there exists many vestiges still reminding you of the episodes of the legend. The visitors could enjoy the natural landscape with different views such as ancient citadel, trench, and river, lagoon which are in accordance with old communes, markets and graves … And they have created the long history and richness in types of relics most in Vietnam. 

Co Loa Festival is annually held from the 6th to the 16th day of the Lunar New Year at An Duong Vuong temple in Dong Anh district to pay homage to King An Duong Vuong who built the Au Lac Kingdom and the Co Loa Citadel to fight the battle against enemies in III B.C. Co Loa is a site of long cultural tradition. The diversity and originality of Co Loa are manifested in terms of the history-humanity-ecology triangle of values. Currently, the Vietnam's oldest citadel has become more famous destination site for both domestic and international tourists.

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