Co Loa relic, in Dong Anh district, less than 15km from the center of Hanoi is really a strange but familiar destination to travelers. Co Loa has many different names: Co Loa tourist area, Loa Thanh, Thanh Oc …
Co Loa relic complex covers an area of over 500 hectares, is located in the territory of 3 communes Co Loa, Duc Tu and Viet Hung in Dong Anh district (Hanoi). This place used to be the capital of Au Lac state in the reign of King An Duong Vuong in the 3rd century BC and Dai Viet in the reign of King Ngo Quyen in the 10th century. Currently, Co Loa is still a “golden spot” for archaeologists, as encloses invaluable historical values. Co Loa is considered the oldest and biggest citadel, and the most unique structure in the history of the ancient Vietnamese construction.
It is believed to be comprised of nine concentric circles, yet only vestiges of three circles can be found at present. They include an 8km exterior wall, a 6.5km polygon-shaped inner wall, and a central 1.6km rectangular wall.
Co Loa Inner Wall:
The circumference of the inner wall is estimated at 1,730m, the height of the wall is estimated at 4 -5m, the surface of the inner wall of Co Loa is estimated at 15 -20m wide.
According to the remaining ancient relics and vestiges, the area known as the Co Loa Inner Wall is rectangular in shape and is said to be the residence of King An Duong Vuong and the royal family. The remains are traces of the ancient Co Loa citadel wall and drainage ditches. The main gate of the Inner Wall is located in the middle of the southern citadel. Surrounding the citadel is a deep and wide moat that is now only a vestige. Around the inner wall, there are 12 protruding earth mounds which were built very symmetrically, each horizontal wall is 02 pieces, each vertical wall is 04 pieces.
In the area of Co Loa Inner Wall, there are also typical relics such as:
Temple of An Duong Vuong
Called Thuong Temple, located in the center of the inner citadel, this place was once considered the place where King Thuc Phan lived before, and now is a place to worship the King and his family and the old court mandarins. Next to the Temple, there is the Epitaph House – where there are ancient texts describing the process of repairing the Temple through the ancient times.
Co Loa Communal House: Also known as Dinh Ngu Trieu Di Quy, or Co Loa Communal House – is now a place to worship God Kim Quy.
Princess My Chau Temple
To the left of the current Co Loa Communal House area, there is a small temple worshiping Lady Princess My Chau – famously sacred. Before the 90s, right in front of the temple, there is the presence of a thousand-year-old banyan tree, which is said to have been planted since the time of Ngo King. Over time, the tree dried up and died.
Bao Son Pagoda
Behind the Co Loa Communal House is Bao Son Pagoda. The pagoda has two entrance gates, visitors can go from the main gate outside the main road or go from behind the communal house. In the pagoda, there are many precious phoenixes and unique works of art.
Temple of Cao Lo General
Cao Lo General is the most famous general of the An Duong Vuong period, considered the inventor of the magic crossbow that shot hundreds of arrows from the Kim Quy’s turtle. He was in charge of the construction of Co Loa Citadel. Cao Lo General is also worshipped in many places such as his hometown in Bac Ninh, or in Ai Mo village. In addition, the statue of Cao Lo with crossbows was erected in the middle of the lake in front of the Xom Chua communal house on the way from Thuong Temple to the Communal House.
The gates of Co Loa citadel
Today, there are still many vestiges of the old Co Loa citadel, which the locals called the shrines. Visitors can easily see on the road to Co Loa relic site from many directions, corresponding to the names: South Gate and Temple of God of South Gate, North Gate and Temple of God of North Gate, West Gate and Temple of God of West Gate.
The Central Wall of Co Loa citadel
The central wall with an estimated circumference of about 6500m. Height from 6 to 13m, wall surface 20m wide. From the South Gate area – Kim Quy God Temple (at the beginning of Sa market area today) round to the East along Mit hamlet and through Dam Ca and Go Voi in the North and then round to the South along the banks of the Hoang River along the exit of the Highway 3 Hanoi – Thai Nguyen today.
Co Loa Exterior Wall
The Outer Citadel Wall has an estimated circumference of 7800m, estimated height 3-4m. This citadel was built along a section of the Hoang River flowing from the southwest to the southeast, surrounding the citadel from the northeast to the southeast.
Archaeological sites were discovered in Co Loa relic
Co Loa relic is now a dense area of archaeological sites such as Dong Vong, Bai Men, Dinh Chien, Dinh Trang, Ma Tre, etc. Inner Citadel, Outer Citadel, Trung Thanh, Xuan Kieu, Xom Noi, Tien Hoi, Duong May, Cau Vuc … and archaeologists have unearthed many Copper Drums and named Co Loa copper drums. They also discovered thousands ancient labor tools: Hoe, scythe, plough, shovel, and tons of bronze arrows on archaeological sites around the relic…
These are considered remarkable attractions in the Co Loa relic.
In addition to cultural attractions associated with history, Co Loa is also famous for its festival, traditional craft villages and unique countryside cuisine.
Every year, on the 5th and 6th of the first lunar calendar month, the Co Loa Festival is held to commemorate and honor An Duong Vuong (Thuc Phan), who built the country of Au Lac and Co Loa Citadel. At Co Loa festival, besides the solemn ceremony with many traditional rituals, the festival is also held in the areas around the temple with many interesting folk games such as: swinging, wrestling, rice cooking competition, love duets singing, water puppetry and cock fighting. With outstanding cultural, artistic, architectural, and scenic values, Co Loa Relics was ranked by the state as a National Historical and Cultural Relics in 1962. In 2012 it was recognized as the National Special Relics by the Prime Minister.
Nowadays, Co Loa Citadel has not only been a cultural heritage but also a lively evidence of the creation, the technique skill as well as the ancient Vietnamese culture in their struggle of protecting Vietnam from its invaders, it also becomes the ideal destination for travelers who want to discover the cultural values, the familiar landscape of a peaceful northern village.
For more travel information in Co Loa, and to book the tour here, feel free to contact us at:
Address: Co Loa Village, Co Loa ward, Dong Anh district, Hanoi, Vietnam
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