Son Tay ancient citadel

(LVH) - Son Tay ancient citadel, located in Son Tay town, more than 40 kilometers from Hanoi, is an ancient military architecture, built in the reign of King Minh Mang in 1822. The time passes; there is Son Tay ancient citadel relic left built in 1822 (the third year of Minh Mang Dynasty).

In 1461 under the reign of King Le Thanh Tong, the administrative unit "Sơn Tây thừa tuyên" was officially established. At first, the unit’s head office was located in La Pham commune, Tien Phong district, Quang Oai metropolis (now Tan Hong commune, Ba Vi district). In the reign of King Le Canh Hung (1740-1786), due to flood, the citadel was broken, the head office was moved to higher ground with several rolling hills in Mong Phu village, Cam Gia cantoon, Phuc Loc District, Quoc Oai metropolis (now Duong Lam commune, Son Tay town). Until the third year of King Minh Mang dynasty (1822) the head office was moved to the centre of Mai Trai, Thuan Nghe, Minh Nghia communes (then known as Tung Thien), the center of Son Tay town nowadays. Time passed, construction works of the old town was destroyed, there is only Son Tay ancient citadel left in the middle of Son Tay town nowadays, built in 1822, the third year of King Ming Mang Dynasty.
Son Tay ancient citadel is ancient military architecture built of laterite in square shape and about 400m in length, 5m in height, built according to Vauban type - a military architecture named after the French engineer Vauban. The citadel is quadrangle-shaped with trapezoidal cross-section, the foot of the citadel is 6m wide, the citadel surface is 4m wide, there are many holes in the top for the soldiers to hide inside and shoot outside or use long handled spears to stab enemy when they climb up the wall.
There are four main gates in the citadel: South gate, North gate, East gate and West gate. There is a watch-tower at the top of each gate covered with “Dương mã” into the hat peak blocked outside the citadel gate. There are trenches around the citadel connected to Tich river in the southwest corner. La thanh is located outside. "Vọng cung nữ" is in the middle from the south, where the King stays in when hunting animals and the place of mandarins watch the citadel every year. Before the sanctum, there is a large yard. Doan Mon is opposite to the flag pole. Vo Mieu in the west, is the place of worshiping war dead in fighting to protect the citadel. In the past, there were four old wells at four corners of the citadel. Next to them, there are edifices and lawcourt of the provincial mandarins. Prison is in the east of Vong Cung, where food is stored and soldiers’ wife and children live.
In approximately 70-80 decade of the 19th century, Son Tay ancient citadel was one Nguyen dynasty’s preparation center of French resistance war. After nearly 200 years with several wars, Son Tay ancient citadel was mostly destroyed, there is the walls, the front door, the behind door, two cannons and some ruins as gazebo, electricity system, well, etc left. In 1994, Son Tay ancient citadel was recognized the National architectural and historical monument by the Ministry of Culture - Information (now the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism).
On February16, 2009, the People's Committee of Hanoi City has decided to improve and renew the cultural and historical monument Son Tay ancient citadel for the 1,000 years anniversary of Thang Long - Ha Noi in order to preserve the attractive and valuable cultural and historical monument of value.

P. Huong