A delegation of foreign diplomats has paid a working visit to the Ho Dynasty Citadel, a national heritage site of Vietnam, in the northern central province of Thanh Hoa.

The citadel of the Ho Dynasty, also called Tay Do Citadel, is situated in Vinh Tien and Vinh Long communes, Vinh Loc district, west of Thanh Hoa city.

Built about 600 years ago, with four gates in the central of each of the walls South, North, East and West, the Ho Dynasty Citadel is an old military construction of great cultural and historical value. It was the old capital of Vietnam from 1397 to 1407.

The citadel includes three sections: A bamboo hedge, a moat and the citadel wall plus the internal area with several palaces connected to each other by marble-paved roads.

In 2004, Vietnamese and Japanese archaeologists conducted initial excavations in the central area in the citadel and found architectural traces of old palaces. In 2010, they discovered the foundation and the main part of the Nam Giao, an elevated platform for royal rituals worshiping the Heaven and the Earth, about 30cm under the ground.

The excavations also revealed thousands of artefacts believed to belong to the Ho Dynasty and ceramics of Vietnam and China, proving cultural exchanges had existed at the time between Vietnam and neighbouring countries.

Thanh Hoa province has submitted the complete dossier on the Ho Dynasty Citadel to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for consideration and recognition as a world heritage site.

Katherine Muller-Marin, Chief Representative of UNESCO in Vietnam, said she was impressed by the construction of the citadel which used large stone blocks without any adhesive, special design of the Nam Giao Platform as well as Ho Quy Ly’s renovation thought, describing them as important things in documents on the citadel and the roadmap to become a world heritage site.

Besides the UNESCO representative, the delegation included diplomats of five permanent member countries at the World Heritage Committee and representatives from China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Austria, Indonesia, Morocco, Russia, Germany and Belgium./.