That’s been a couple of pretty visually spectacular WHS visits, those last couple to Ha Long Bay and Trang An; to mix it up a bit, here’s another for the hard core history buffs, a couple hours drive inland:
The Citadel of Ho Dynasty built in 1397, composed of the Inner Citadel, La Thanh Outer Wall and the Nam Giao Altar covers 155.5 ha, surrounded by a buffer zone of 5078.5 ha. It is located in accordance with geomantic principles in a landscape of great scenic beauty between the Ma and Buoi rivers in Vinh Loc district, Thanh Hoa province of Viet Nam. The Inner Citadel constructed of large limestone blocks represents a new development of architectural technology and adaptation of geomantic city planning in an East Asian and South-east Asian context. It demonstrates the use of architectural elements in terms of space management and decoration designed for a centralized imperial city in order to show a concept of royal power, based on the adoption of the Confucian philosophy within a predominantly Buddhist culture. Being the capital of Viet Nam from 1398 to 1407 and also the political, economic and cultural centre of North Central Viet Nam from the 16th to the 18th century, it bears exceptional testimony to a critical period in Vietnamese and South-east Asian history when traditional kingship and Buddhist values were giving way to new trends in technology, commerce and centralized administration.
The main remaining visual spectacle is this triple arch
and, well, that’s it really; a number of other areas on the inscription, but in general you’d be fairly hard put to tell there was ever anything, at most you see ruins like the inner wall here tucked away in the paddy fields.
There’s a small museum as well, with some midly unusual relics from the excavations here
But overall, most people would probably find the best reason to come here to be this: the Ho Citadel Vodka!
Pretty darn sure that is the only World Heritage Vodka we’ve ever come across. If there’s any other WHS sites that have a namesake vodka, let us know so we can start a collection!