The Hoang De (Emperor) Citadel in Binh Dinh Province is a must-see for Vietnamese history lovers.
forbidden city, which changed hands several
times during the late 18th century, is
located in An Nhon District, on the site of
the prior Do Ban Citadel in the Champa
It was rebuilt in 1776 by the order of the
ruler of Tay Son Dynasty, King Nguyen Nhac,
one of the three national heroes who led a
resistance against Ching invaders from
According to Dia chi Binh Dinh (The Book
about Binh Dinh), the Hoang De Citadel has
an outer circumference of 7,400 meters.
It originally had five gates but only one
remains open for tourists.
Most of the citadel has been ruined.
A brick tomb is badly damaged but still is
used for worshipping.
In front of the citadel is Thap Thap Pagoda
where Hon da chem (Beheading Stone) is
When the Nguyen troops seized the citadel in
1799 from the Tay Son, they beheaded the
captured generals on this rectangular stone.
Half a kilometer away there are two stone
elephants on either side of the road.
According to legend the two elephants had
their tusks broken in a battle and lay there
The original red earthen walls still remain
outside the former forbidden city on a rocky
When the Nguyen troops took over Hoang De
Citadel in 1799 they renamed it Binh Dinh
A civil war followed, with many battles
between the Tay Son and Nguyen troops.
The tombs of Vo Tanh and Ngo Tung Chau, two
generals from the Nguyen dynasty are in the
heart of the citadel.
They committed suicide and had their bodies
burnt when Tay Son troops retook the citadel
two years later in 1801.
Today, the Hoang De Citadel is situated in a
People may visit it for free. The security
guard also acts as a tour guide.
Reported by Phan Huy Tram