Royal Citadel Recognised for Long-Lasting Cultural History

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The Thang Long Royal Citadel
The Thang Long Royal Citadel

The Thang Long Royal Citadel has been recognised as a world cultural heritage for its long-lasting cultural history, the continuity of the citadel as a power centre and the variety of relics it contains.

The UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee made the recognition at its 34 session in Brazil on July 31, basing on three criteria.

Firstly, relics on the ground and excavated under the ground at the Thang Long Royal Citadel in Hanoi reflect a long-lasting cultural exchange process and show that the citadel was influenced by many different cultures, theories and systems of thought, including Buddhism, Confucianism, the theory of geomancy, and the models of Eastern and Western citadels.

Secondly, the citadel demonstrates an age-old cultural tradition of Vietnamese people in the Red River Delta during the continuous history of 13 centuries. Archaeological cultures, architectural and artistic relics of the heritage show that the area has been a political, economic and cultural centre for over 1,000 years.

Thirdly, the discovered relics also show that the citadel had direct contact with many important historical events of a Southeast Asian country in the relations with other nations in the region and the world as well.

The Thang Long Royal Citadel
The Thang Long Royal Citadel

Archaeological excavations were conducted on the 40,000sq.m site at No.18 Hoang Dieu Street in 2002-2003, revealing four distinct periods of activity: the Dai La or pre-Thang Long period from the 7 th -10 th centuries; the Ly-Tran period of the 11 th -14 th centuries, which included some vestiges of the pre Dinh-Le dynasty of the 10 th century; the Le period of the 15 th -18 th centuries; and the Nguyen dynasty of the 19 th century.

Vietnam began taking measures for the preservation of the site back in 2006, said Professor Trinh Sinh from the Archaeological Institute.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism requested the Prime Minister to ratify a plan to preserve some of the excavated lots found to contain the most important, representative and original artefacts, Sinh said. These would be turned into an open museum to display artefacts and replicas.

The remaining lots would be systematically excavated, properly documented and then turned into an historical and cultural park within the complex of the historic Ba Dinh Square , he said.

Other UNESCO-recognised tangible and intangible heritages in Vietnam include the complex of Hue ancient capital relics, Ha Long Bay, Hoi An Ancient Town, My Son Sanctuary, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Hue royal court music, the space of Central Highlands gong culture, the space of Quan ho (love duet) culture and Ca tru (ceremonial song).