VietnamHanoiThe Story Of Hanoi Flag Tower

The Story Of Hanoi Flag Tower

The Hanoi Flag Tower is Vietnam’s capital‘s architectural and historical symbol. It still stands today, proudly bearing the Vietnamese flag at the very top. The tower’s survival through the French invasion (1894 – 1897) proved its resiliency during wartime. The tower has existed for over 200 years, making it an important historical site in Hanoi.

History of the Hanoi Flag Tower

the story of hanoi flag tower history
Hanoi Flag Tower in the past

The story can be traced back to the beginning of the Nguyen Dynasty when Emperor Gia Long ascended the throne to unify modern Vietnam in 1802. The tower, situated within the southern part of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, was constructed between 1805 and 1812.

View of the tower from the Thang Long Imperial Citadel

During the French colonial occupation (1894-1897), the French forces destroyed most of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel structures. Still, they left the tower intact to use it as a military post. The tower proved an extremely strategic tool for observing Hanoi and its suburbs. The Hanoi air defense forces also took advantage of this key observation vantage point during the Vietnam War.

In 1945, the national flag of Vietnam flew on top of the tower for the first time. However, it wasn’t until 1954, when the battle of Dien Bien Phu resulted in a victory for Vietnam, that the tower became a symbol of Vietnamese liberation. 1989, the Hanoi Flag Tower was officially recognized as a historical monument.

Architecture of the Hanoi Flag Tower

The Hanoi Flag Tower comprises three tiers of a pyramid-shaped platform accessible from the third level. The tower’s total height, including the flag pole, is 33 meters (about 108 feet) and 41 meters (about 134 feet). At the top of the building is a room with eight windows corresponding to the eight cardinal and intercardinal directions.

The line of cannons at the foot of the tower

At the base of the tower sits a line of cannons installed by the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th century. These were discovered in the Thang Long Imperial Citadel in 2003.

The structure is made of many bricks from different periods due to multiple reinforcement efforts throughout history.

According to researchers, the first and second levels were made of mallet bricks, which were standard in the Le Dynasty (1428-1788). Meanwhile, the third level was made of hard, burnt, and half-baked bricks. The tower has thirty-six flower-shaped and six fan-shaped windows, allowing natural light into its center.

One of the four doors on the second level leading to the inside the tower

On the second level, there are four doors in each cardinal direction. Each has a name inscribed on its respective door except for the northern one. The eastern door is called “Nghenh Huc” (to welcome dawn’s sunlight); the western door is “Hoi Quang” (to reflect light); and the southern door is “Huong Minh” (directed to the sunlight). At the northern door, two stairs lead to the left and right sides of the tower.

Location of the Hanoi Flag Tower

Vietnam Military History Museum outdoor display area viewed from the tower

Location (about 15 minutes by walk from the Old Quarter Area)

Located within the Vietnam Military History Museum, visitors wishing to access the tower must go through the museum. Entrance to the tower is free, but visitors must pay an admission fee (VND 40,000) when entering the museum.

When done with the museum and the tower, visit the Thang Long Imperial Citadel – one of the top attractions in Hanoi. The tower was originally a part of the citadel, so the two historic sites have a shared history. With these three related locations within range, planning your trip around these three points of interest is easy.

Conclusion on Hanoi Flag Tower

As one of the rare historical monuments in Hanoi that has survived many conflicts since its construction, the Hanoi Flag Tower has evolved from a strategic structure to a historically symbolic beacon for the Vietnamese people.

Because of its significance and past importance, the tower will continue to represent the country’s liberation as long as the nation’s flag is flown high on its peak. When visiting Hanoi, plan a trip to this must-see historical site!

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