Oct 05, 2020 / 12:04

Co Loa - the ancient capital of two dynasties

Co Loa Citadel is the oldest building in Vietnam with the most large-scale structure and the long historic stories.

For King Ngo Quyen, who ascended to the throne after the great victory over the Han invaders on Bach Dang River in 938, he had great contribution to ending over 1,000 years the country was dominated by the Chinese. 

He deserves to be worshipped in a temple at Co Loa Citadel because this is where he chose to be the country’s capital at that time. But now there are not many traces about him as well as his reign left there.

Co Loa ancient citadel in Dong Anh district, Hanoi/ Photo: hanoitravel.org

As far as I know, there are 48 places in our country to set up temples and shrines to worship King Ngo Quyen. Only in Hai Phong, where the fierce battle took place on Bach Dang River to fight against the Han invaders, local people already established a total of 36 temples and shrines to worship him until now.

Unfortunately, a temple has yet to be established so far at Co Loa Citadel - the place where King Ngo Quyen chose to be the country’s capital after his great victory over the Han invaders.

Recently, Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong together with the Politburo members approved the plan of the 17th Ha Noi Party Congress, he mentioned Co Loa Citadel twice as an ancient capital that imprinted in the national history.

Co Loa Citadel - the place where King Ngo Quyen chose to be the country’s capital after his great victory over the Han invaders/ Photo: Hanoitravel.org

Personally, I think, he had his own reasons to mention Co Loa Citadel while most of people only mentioned to Thang Long, Dong Do when referring to the thousand-year historical tradition of Hanoi.

Trong said in the first paragraph of his speech on September 9 that the scale of Ha Noi now was much different compared to the past. Ha Noi not only had 36 streets and Co Loa Citadel but also expanded its scale now.

If we said that our country had never had the status like today, Hanoi also had never had the scale and status like now, he said.

Then in the next paragraph, Trong said Hanoi had a thousand-year history, a long-standing culture, a glorious revolutionary tradition, representing the cultural and heroic tradition, peace and friendship of the nation.

 Co Loa Festival takes place after Vietnamese traditional Lunar New Year/ Photo: Hanoitravel/org

Co Loa, Dong Do, Thang Long, Hanoi were believed to represent the thousand-year history of the nation – a heroic nation, where the mountains and rivers formed for thousands of years. Hanoi was sacred and splendid with faith and hope, he said.

I think he is very subtle and profound to mention such words about Hanoi.

Besides, reports of a recent seminar, held by Ha Noi’s Centre for Learning and Developing the Capital, on the topic of restoring Lien Chau crossbow during King An Duong Vuong’s reign showed that the crossbow was mysterious but true after the arrow named Co Loa was convincingly restored and fired by engineer Vu Dinh Thanh (who now works at a weapons corporation in Russia).

Thereby, it confirmed that the legend of "the magic crossbow" as well as An Duong Vuong dynasty and Au Lac State are real in our national history.

Co Loa ancient citadel's architecture/ Photo: Hanoitravel.org

Co Loa was the capital of the Au Lac State under King An Duong Vuong’s reign around the 3rd century BC. Co Loa Citadel is about 20km north of Ha Noi. According to folklore, King An Duong Vuong defeated the last of the Hung kings in 257BC and founded Au Lac State, choosing the site of Co Loa as his capital.

Co Loa Citadel is the oldest building in Viet Nam with the most large-scale structure and the long historic stories. Its name "Co Loa" is derived from the Sino-Vietnamese for "old spiral" as the structure is built in a spiral shape.