Cổ Loa commune, Đông Anh district, Hanoi city
Co Loa Citadel is an important fortified settlement and archaeological site in present-day Dong Anh, Hanoi. It is about 16 kilometer northeast of Hanoi city center, that you can easily ride a bike from Hanoi or hire a private driver for the trip.
The citadel remained an important political center of Vietnamese people until the 10th century. Co Loa was also a place founded various Bronze Age Phung Nguyen culture and Dong Son culture although it was later established as the capital of Au Lac Kingdom during 3rd century BC. Futher construction was added in later dynasties.
Geographical and historical value of Co Loa citadel
Co Loa Citadel was built from Au Lac period. The Citadel was built on a high land area situated on the left bank on the Red River in order to cover both roads, waterways, mountainous area and plains. The Co Loa Citadel is the intersection of the Red River and another large Thai Binh river at the exact position of the peak of the Red River delta.
Nowadays, among the remaining ancient citadels of Vietnam, Co Loa Citadel seem to be the oldest citadel architecture with the 2,300-years history. The Citadel was twice chosen as the capital, the first time was the 3rd century (BC) in Au Lac period, and the second one was the 10th century (AD) of the Ngo dynasty.
Co Loa was recognized by the Government as a National Monument since 1962. In 2012 Co Loa was recognized as a special National Monument with the value in history, artistic and archeological architecture.
Architecture of Co Loa
At Co Loa Citadel, many scientists have discovered valuable relics, demonstrating the brilliant development process of Au Lac civilization under An Duong Vuong period.
With a unique architecture in a spiraling style, this place also has another name as Spiral Citadel (Loa Thanh). In the past, the locals said that the city was built up to 9 walls, however, currently, tourists can only see 3 spirals.
The Citadel architecture could generally be divided into two parts. The perimeter of the inside Citadel is 1600 meters and the perimeter of the outside Citadel is 15 kilometers in a tortuous shape. Inside the citadels, there are many relics with unique architecture attached with the legends of Hung King, Mi Chau, Trong Thuy, Kim Quy and so on.
Temple of An Duong Vuong
Located in the center of the Citadel is An Duong Vuong temple, also known as Thuong temple, which was built in 1687. Legend has it that this was the old place where Thuc Phan had chosen to stay and stop. The temple is located on a land shaped like a dragon’s head, on two sides, there are two green forest areas symbolizing themselves as dragons, far away visitors can see the dragon’s eyes made up of two big holes.
To discover what it has inside the An Duong Vuong Temple and a large number of spots in Co Loa Citadel such as Jade well, Temple of Cao Lo, Co Loa Communal House, Am Ba Chua, etc visitors should come here and enjoy them by their own.
Festivals of Co Loa
Co Loa Citadel has its main assembly on January 6th annually. This is an occasion for many special cultural activities such as rituals, sacrifices, processions, heavenly thanksgiving ceremonies and Vietnamese folk games, etc.
In addition to this main festival, the Citadel is open year-round, which is good for visitors to come to the Co Loa citadel without worrying about having to squeeze into the crowds.
Co Loa Citadel witnessed magnanimous history of Vietnamese people in the past in building and maintaining the country. Coming to this place, visitors also feel the legend vividly, being taught to know how to fight, love and repent.
Wish you have a meaningful trip!