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World Heritage Site

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Citadel of the Ho Dynasty

Citadel of the Ho Dynasty

The Citadel of Ho Dynasty are the remains of a late 14th century castle constructed from stone blocks.

It was constructed by the Hồ Dynasty from 1397 on. It is a symbol of neo-Confucianism.

Map of Citadel of the Ho Dynasty


  • Cultural

Community Reviews

Frederik Dawson Netherlands 10-Oct-17

Citadel of the Ho Dynasty by Frederik Dawson

My third consecutive years visiting Vietnam gave me an opportunity to tick off the last two, Ho Citadel and Trang An, to complete Vietnamese World Heritage Sites. Conveniently both sites are located near the city of Ninh Binh, just 2 hours from Hanoi, and many tour agencies offered transportation service. After 4 hours from Hanoi, our driver, who rarely comprehended any English word and relied on google translation app on his mobile, took me and my friends in front of the imposing ruined three arched gate of Ho Citadel.

At first glance, the site was extremely underwhelming, there was nothing except the gate in the middle of nowhere of endless rice fields. Fortunately that the gate was really photogenic and the size and engineering craftsmanship of the gate were quite impressive. We climbed to the top of the gate and found beautiful view of sea of golden almost harvestable rice fields, and from the top we could see and understand the citadel square form and its surrounding Feng Shui element of mountain and river. We spend only 30 minutes on Ho Citadel as there was nothing much to see. Its small museum also closed without explanation and we decided not to disturb locals who were harvesting rice in the middle of citadel.

Currently there are 3 citadels in the list of Vietnamese World Heritage Sites, Hue, Ho and Thang Long, the differences of these sites in terms of citadel gate and layout are hardly noticeable, so after have seen Hue and Thang Long, Ho Citadel offered nothing new and made the visit totally not worthwhile. Fortunately that the photogenic gate and the view of golden rice fields saved my visit to be quite memorable.

Bernard Joseph Esposo Guerrero The Philippines 23-Mar-17

Citadel of the Ho Dynasty by bernard Joseph Esposo Guerrero

Indeed, this place is off the beaten path and the only way that I could make renting a private car worth it was by combining a visit here with a visit to Trang An - Hoa Lu - Van Long; thus, a 2D/1N arranged trip made ticking off two WH sites possible. Contrary to the other reviews that show only disappointment, I was in no doubt impressed by the relics of the Ho citadel. While it's true that it's really just walls and gates, one has to go the level of architecture and construction engineering to appreciate its unique values. The stones used, for example, are definitely of bigger sizes than from other ancient buildings in SE Asia. The way they were fit together also demonstrated high masonry skills as the stone blocks almost have no gaps between them. It is unfair, in my opinion, to impose high expectations on the site as beauty and "grandness" are not really its strengths. But, the little details I observed, as well as its history, fairly justify its inscription. The rural environment in and around the citadel are also a big plus for the experience. Would I recommend it to fellow WHS hunters? Yes.

PS. There is also a conservation centre beside the southern gate where one can see more info about works done on site and findings.

Michael Turtle Australia 14-Dec-16

Citadel of the Ho Dynasty by Michael Turtle

The citadel is in a small town called Vinh Loc. I couldn’t find mention of any tours that go there and there is no direct public transport options for other cities where you might be travelling through. In the end, I found a local bus that took 90 minutes from a city called Thanh Hoa, which I was not intending to visit. It seemed like the easiest way, though, short of hiring a car and driver for a day. I guess I was hoping there might be a good payoff for all this effort.

There wasn’t. Not with the citadel itself, that is. I appreciate that this is a historically-significant site but the only thing that really remains is the large stone wall, about 900 metres long on each side. It’s an impressive wall and so I decide to walk along it. In the centre is where the citadel’s buildings would once have been. However, now there is nothing left.

Read more from Michael Turtle here.

Anna Le, Vietnam 06-Sep-15

As for me, Ho citadel is one of the most attractive destinations in Vietnam because of its value. I went to Ho citadel for 2 days 1 night with my husband. We spent one full day to explore the Ho citadel, listened to the tour guide introducing about the Ho's history and enjoyed the fresh air with the rice field and lotus pond. Some nice pictures were taken but unfortunately, I lost them. :(. I'll come back there in upcoming time. Make sure.

Should you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact me at email

Welcome to Vietnam. :)

Read more from Anna Le here.

Pham Thi Hoa, VietNam 17-Feb-14

Ho Citadel is located in my home town. It is not easy to go there if you are not a local person. Infact,every day, there are some car which take people from Ha Noi to Ho Citadel and Ho Citadel to Ha Noi. It is very cheap. It is only 5$ for one person. If you come to Ha noi and you like going to Ho Citadel but you don't have a car, I can help you (show and may pick you up to the car). My email is:

Nam Onrit, Thailand 21-Jan-13

This citadel is the latest WHS of Vietnam. I had to try my best to visit there, because no tour operators or public transportation.

Finally, I decided to go to Ninh Binh town the nearest point to reach the citadel easiest way. From Ninh Binh, I chartered sedan car with driver drove through many bustling villages for 1.30hours approx. The driver never talked to my friend and me. I known later, he was stress out driving to attraction he may not go there before.

The citadel have only a few evidences to prove to be the ancient capital. There are well condition city walls and 4 gates. In the middle is paddy field, lotus ponds and dirt roads.

However, I love there. I've found surrounded villages are commune style housing. Quite and simple countryside with friendly farmers and villagers.

Vietnam is one of destination are talked about rip-off but not here. People seem not used to foreigners but they are welcome.

In the WHS there were only 2 visitors, my friend and I wandering in the walls.

Although it have a few ancient things to explore but its history is interesting. You can read the brief and enjoy photos from my blog.

John booth New Zealand 25-Mar-12

Citadel of the Ho Dynasty by John Booth

This site is in two parts, one each side of Vinh Loc village in the province of Thanh Hoa. The Citadel is almost a kilometer square surrounded by earth and masonry walls. In the centre of each side are masonry arched gateways. The area within the walls is now rice padi.

The Nam Giao altar resides on a hillside at the other end of the village.

Vinh Loc is accessible by bus from Thanh Hoa town.

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Community Rating

Community Rating 2.33. Based on 3 votes.

Site Info

Full name: Citadel of the Ho Dynasty

Unesco ID: 1358

Inscribed: 2011

Type: Cultural

Criteria: 2   4  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 2011 - Inscribed 


The site has 3 locations.

  • Citadel of the Ho Dynasty: Inner Citadel
  • Citadel of the Ho Dynasty: La Thanh Outer Walled Section
  • Citadel of the Ho Dynasty: Nam Giao Altar


The site has 5 connections.


Religion and Belief

  • Confucianism: testifies to a flowering of neo-Confucianism (AB ev)



  • Located in a Former Capital: The Ho Citadel was the capital of the Tran dynasty from 1398-9 and of the Ho dynasty from 1400 when Ho Quy Ly put his son on the throne by marrying him to a Tran princess, until 1407.(AB ev)

World Heritage Process

  • Controversial at inscription: ICOMOS recommended deferral. None of Crit ii, iii and iv justified (though ii might be with more work), core and buffer zone boundaries not good enough, no inventory etc. Egy led proposal for inscription ("similarities with Cairo citadel case". Sui, Aus led against. Inscribed!