Built in 1397 by the Ho Dynasty as the capital of Dai Ngu, 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 foreign 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 Vu Nam Son, Vietnamese Swiss expert on heritage preservation, and the Conservation Center of Ho Citadel.
“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 is really a part of the heritage of all of humanity,” Ambassador Kritenbrink said at the unveiling ceremony.
According to the diplomat, the US Embassy is honored to contribute to preserving this significant heritage site through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. Since the start of this program 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 the ambassador.
As part of his visit to Thanh Hoa and Ninh Binh provinces, Ambassador Kritenbrink also visited Quang Trung Kindergarten built with Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance funds in 2012, toured Ham Rong Bridge with Vietnamese and American veterans, including those who fought to defend the bridge during the war.
He paid a courtesy call to Thanh Hoa Province Party Secretary and People’s Committee Chairman, delivered remarks at the opening ceremony of an English Access Micro-Scholarship Program at Thanh Hoa Ethnic Minority Boarding High School, talked with teachers and students of Lam Sơn Gifted High School, met alumni of US Government exchanges, and visited Phat Diem Church.