Popular with local and foreign visitors to central Vietnam, Hai Van Gate is a relic site with profound historical, architectural, and artistic values that connects Da Nang’s Lien Chieu District with Thua Thien-Hue’s Phu Loc District.

The gate sits at the top of Hai Van Pass, which runs approximately 21 kilometers traversing a spur of the larger Annamite Range that juts into the East Vietnam Sea in central Vietnam.

An aerial view of the under-repair Hai Quan Gate complex located atop Hai Van Pass, which connects Da Nang City and Thua Thien-Hue Province in central Vietnam. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre

An aerial view of the under-repair Hai Van Gate complex located atop Hai Van Pass, which connects Da Nang City and Thua Thien-Hue Province in central Vietnam. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre

The relic complex was built in 1826 under the rule of the Nguyen Dynasty’s Emperor Minh Mang, who ordered the construction of multiple defensive structures on Hai Van Pass to protect the then-capital of imperial Vietnam in Hue.

Located 490 meters above sea level, Hai Van Gate literally means ‘ocean cloud gate,’ referring to the mists that rise from the sea, reducing visibility.

An aerial view of the under-repair Hai Quan Gate complex located atop Hai Van Pass, which connects Da Nang City and Thua Thien-Hue Province in central Vietnam. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre

An aerial view of the under-repair Hai Van Gate complex located atop Hai Van Pass, which connects Da Nang City and Thua Thien-Hue Province in central Vietnam. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre

According to available historical records, following the gate’s completion, Emperor Minh Mang inscribed its name in Vietnamese, ‘Hai Van Quan,’ onto one side of the gate, and the words ‘Thien Ha De Nhat Hung Quan’ (World’s Most Marvelous Wonder) on another.

The gate had at one point been left to fall into disrepair as neither administration of Da Nang and Thua Thien-Hue took responsibility for its maintenance.

An aerial view of the under-repair Hai Quan Gate complex located atop Hai Van Pass, which connects Da Nang City and Thua Thien-Hue Province in central Vietnam. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre

An aerial view of the under-repair Hai Van Gate complex located atop Hai Van Pass, which connects Da Nang City and Thua Thien-Hue Province in central Vietnam. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre

It was not until the site’s recognition as a national relic in April 2017 that the two localities’ authorities initiated repair activities.

The restoration initiative exceeding VND42 billion (US$1.8 million) commenced at the end of 2021, leading to Hai Van Gate’s closure to visitors.

An aerial view of the under-repair Hai Quan Gate complex located atop Hai Van Pass, which connects Da Nang City and Thua Thien-Hue Province in central Vietnam. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre

An aerial view of the under-repair Hai Van Gate complex located atop Hai Van Pass, which connects Da Nang City and Thua Thien-Hue Province in central Vietnam. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre

As per the renovation project, the Hai Van Quan Gate complex has been meticulously repaired to reflect the original features from the Nguyen Dynasty.

This involves replacing the stone gate foundation, mortar system, and brick wall, while preserving the adjacent bunkers that were utilized during the wars against France and the United States.

An aerial view of the under-repair Hai Quan Gate complex located atop Hai Van Pass, which connects Da Nang City and Thua Thien-Hue Province in central Vietnam. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre

An aerial view of the under-repair Hai Van Gate complex located atop Hai Van Pass, which connects Da Nang City and Thua Thien-Hue Province in central Vietnam. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre

After one year and a half, substantial components of the project have been successfully accomplished, according to the culture department.

The gate is expected to reopen to visitors at the end of this year.

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