Beautiful Vietnam » Guide
Legend surround Ho Dynasty Citadel construction
  • | | July 04, 2011 05:08 PM

Researchers have collected many legends about the techniques used to build the recently- World Cultural Heritage recognised Ho Dynasty Citadel.

The western gate


Ho Dynasty Citadel, is located between the Ma and Buoi rivers. It is surrounded by 10,000-hectares of fertile land and mountains, making it to be a natural oasis and an ideal place according to traditional geomancy or feng shui.

The southeast aspect of the citadel faces Don Son Mountain. The northwest wall is near Song Tuong Mountain (mother elephant and child elephant). While the west-south-western direction looks towards to five limestone mountains.

King Ho Quy Ly allegedly made the decision himself to locate the citadel on the site, hoping it would secure a long reign for his dynasty.

Legends of construction

Records dating back to the early 15th century do not mention the construction of the citadel; therefore most of the stories surrounding its building sourced by local legends.

Each citadel wall is built with five rows of stone of different heights from 1.1m to 0.35-0.4m.

According to local stories, the citadel was constructed over just a few years. However, the Ho Dynasty struggled to build the citadel’s four gates. As soon as the gates were finished, they suddenly collapsed, leaving five workers dead, a problem that continued to plague the construction of the gates. Some people suggested using sandy soil to make an arch before arranging the brickwork. After the gate became solid, the soil was removed.

According to observations of the current citadel, King Ho Quy Ly lived on the site during its construction. The citadel took nearly three years to construct, but was never fully completed.

This matches local stories that suggest that the period of construction and use by King Ho Quy Ly totalled some six years.

In 1407, when the Ho Dynasty fell, the citadel remained unfinished, as indicated by evidence that the construction of eastern and western gates were only partially finished.

Some documents say that the citadel construction was carried out within three months; others say it is completed for three and six years.


Huge amounts of material must have been used in the building of the citadel.

Researchers and experts have raised different questions about the way people transported the huge stones from mountains to build the citadel.

Many of them think that after exploiting raw stone from the nearby mountains, they were brought to sites where they were worked on and selected for the construction. Stone detritus found both inside and outside the citadel can still be found near the gateways.

The paved road that legend says was used to carry stone to the site can still seen in Tay Giai Village, Vinh Tien Commune.

Inside the four citadel walls are a dyke covered with stones.

The Ho Dynasty Citadel is considered as a unique site and the citadel has been recognised as a World Cultural Heritage site.

The southern gate

The eastern gate

The northern gate

A section of the eastern wall

A section of the western wall

The longest flagstone of the western wall

A section of the southern wall

A section of the northern wall

The surrounding countryside viewed from the southern gate

Leave your comment on this story