Tang Long Citadel was the imperial palace of Vietnam's Le Dynasty for hundreds of years. The citadel is now mostly in ruins, although some very impressive structures have been restored and archaeological research is ongoing. The citadel has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tang Long Citadel is fascinating for a number of reasons. You'll enjoy your visit whether you are interested in Vietnamese culture, ancient history and archaeology, or Vietnam War-era military history. Beneath the ancient gates lies a secret - a 1960's era secret underground bunker used by North Vietnamese generals during the "American War"!
Only a few buildings of the citadel are left standing, and those are mostly fairly recent reconstructions. If you use your imagination, though, you can picture just how grand the palace must have been, and what a spectacle it would have been when the emperor rode in through the mammoth front gate.
Another building displays some artifacts recovered from the archaeological digs of the ancient palace. As a matter of fact, your entry ticket to the citadel is also good for visiting the archeological dig site just across the street! Be sure to visit both parts of the citadel in order to get the full experience! The dig site is just across the street from the citadel's exit.
There is a secret beneath the ancient wall of the citadel! Room D67 was opened to visitors for the first time ever in December 2017.
Built in 1965, D67 was the secret bunker and military headquarters of General Giap, commander of the North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam/American War in the 1960s-70s.
Climbing down steep stairs in a narrow passage beneath the ancient palace walls, the air grows heavy and cool. It's dark, a little claustrophobic and a little creepy! Soon, you'll pass thick solid metal doors and enter the tiny secret underground command bunker.
The bunker is just a few connected rooms - cramped, practical, and full of important communications equipment. The walls of the bunker are thick, meant to withstand even chemical or nuclear strikes. It's fascinating, especially if you are interested in modern history.
Hanoi Imperial Citadel
19c P Hoang Dieu (near the Military History Museum)
30,000d ($1.50) - includes entry to the Imperial Citadel, Room D67, and the archaeological excavation site across the street