Co Loa Citadel, Hanoi

“Who comes back past Đông Anh district,

See the scenery of Loa Citadel of King Thục.

Cổ Loa is an unusual Citadel,

Through years months, but the mark of the citadel is still here.”


“Ai về qua huyện Đông Anh,

Ghé Thăm Phong Cảnh Loa Thành Thục Vương.

Cổ Loa thành óc khác thường,

Trãi bao năm tháng dấu thành còn đây.”)

Cổ Loa is the most ancient citadel in Vietnam built by King An Dương Vương in the 3rd century BC to make the headquarter of Âu Lạc  (the name of Vietnam at that time), located in Cổ Loa village (Vietnamese: làng), Cổ Loa Commune (Vietnamese: xã), Đông Anh District, suburban Hanoi now.

The citadel is built in the style of a spiral. According to legend, It has 9 wall rings. Today, Cổ Loa exists only 3 wall rings of land: outer ring (circumference of 8km), middle ring (polygon, the perimeter of 6.5km) and the inner ring (rectangular, the circumference of 1.6km). The feet of the wall rings have an average height of 4-5m, some places are as high as 12m, and the width of them is up to 20-30m.

Co Loa Citadel

Co Loa Citadel.

Co Loa Citadel

Co Loa Citadel.

The gates of the three rings are also very cleverly arranged, not lying on a straight axis but deviating greatly. Therefore, the road connecting the two gates in the same direction is a winding road, and there are defending mounds on both sides, causing many obstacles for the enemy troops to attack.

At Cổ Loa village (notice, Cổ Loa village is only part of Cổ Loa commune, Đông Anh district) you will find traces of the three remaining ancient land wall rings where archaeologists found thousands of copper arrows, plowshares, iron axes, animal bones.

Through the village gate also being the citadel gate is to Cổ Loa village communal house. According to legend, it is the old background of the place where the king and the mandarins of the court used to meet to discuss national things.

Next to the village communal house is Bà Chúa shrine, where people worship Mỵ Châu princess, nestling under the old old tree. The shrine is as small as the short life of the poor princess who has “the wrong heart leaves on the head” (Vietnamese: “Trái Tim lầm chỗ để trên đầu”). In the shrine, there is a headless humanoid stone rock. Everyone said it was a statue of Princess Mỵ Châu.

Through Mỵ Châu shrine is to Thượng temple also known as An Dương Vương temple, which is said to be built on a place that the king and family lived. This temple was rebuilt at the beginning of the 20th century. There is a pair of stone dragons at the steps of the temple gate, which are relics of the Trần dynasty (1225-1400). In the temple, there is a new bronze statue of An Dương Vương cast on the same occasion to remake the temple. In front of the temple is Ngọc well; legend said Trọng Thủy suicided here because of regret, and pearls were washed with the water of well would be much brighter.

Read more about

Co Loa Festival in Hanoi, Vietnam

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