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Jun 30, 2020 / 17:32

US ambassador announces completion of project to preserve UNESCO heritage site Ho Citadel

The unveiling ceremony is part of the US Mission in Vietnam’s activities to celebrate the 25th anniversary of US-Vietnam diplomatic relations.

US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink has marked the completion of a project to preserve the South Gate of the Ho Citadel in Vietnam’s central province of Thanh Hoa, which was funded under the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP).

 Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink and Thanh Hoa Province representatives cut the ribbon to unveil the project "Conservation of the Stone Vault and the South Gate of the Ho Citadel" which was supported by the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation. Photo: US Embassy in Hanoi

Built in 1397 by the Ho dynasty as the capital of Dai Ngu (a former name of Vietnam), Ho Citadel is unique for its outstanding construction technique, which used large blocks of stone, weighing from 10 to 26 tons each, carefully shaped, interlocked and elevated to about 10 meters high. The citadel served as a military stronghold to protect the country from invasion, thus becoming a symbol of patriotism, and a witness of Vietnamese history during the late 14th and early 15th century.

The AFCP approved a US$92,500 grant to conserve the South Gate, the most important remaining structure of the citadel which had been seriously damaged over time. The South Gate’s western (left) vault was in danger of collapsing because the keystone had cracked and become loose, threatening the safety of tourists and the overall structure of the gate.  

The project, which returned the keystone back to its original position, started in December 2018 with the supervision and participation of Mr. Vu Nam Son, Vietnamese Swiss expert on heritage preservation, and the Conservation Center of the Ho Citadel.

 Ambassador Kritenbrink listens to a presentation on the history of the Ho Citadel. Photo: US Embassy in Hanoi

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony on June 29, Ambassador Kritenbrink said: “The Citadel – its construction, layout, placement in the landscape, and the organization needed to build it – tells us so much about the people that built it and the society around them. It really is a part of the heritage of all of humanity.”

Since the start of AFCP in 2001, the US Mission has funded 14 projects throughout Vietnam, totaling over US$1 million, and helping to preserve different aspects of Vietnam’s rich heritage.

The unveiling ceremony is part of the US Mission in Vietnam’s activities to celebrate the 25th anniversary of US-Vietnam diplomatic relations.

“Cultural heritage preservation is only one of many fields of cooperation between our two countries. In areas as diverse as trade, development, education, health care, energy, and security, the United States and a strong and independent Vietnam are working together with a shared commitment to peace and prosperity,” said Ambassador Kritenbrink.