A section of the front wall and tunnel at the citadel. (Source: VNA)

 Da Nang (VNA) - Members of the National Heritage Council have agreed to recognise Dien Hai Citadel in the central city of Da Nang as a National Special Relic.

Director of the city’s Department of Culture and Sports Huynh Van Hung said that a meeting of the 25-member council decided this on December 5. The agreement will be sent to the Prime Minister for approval.

Hung said it was a great endeavour to protect the relics that symbolise the history and foundation of Da Nang city.

He said the citadel, which was now the site of the city’s museum on Tran Phu street, had been encroached by public and residential buildings and projects between 1998-2014.

“The city has re-allocated 75 houses on the citadel boundary and cleared 92 intruding buildings at a cost of 84 billion VND (3.7 million USD),” Hung said, adding that planned projects on the north of the citadel were revoked last year.

He said the city had planned to restore the site to its original condition in 1813. Hung said even Da Nang Museum, which was built in 1998, violated the protection belt around the citadel - and would be soon removed.

He said the citadel, which was listed as a national historical monument in 1988, needed space for restoration and tourism.

The citadel was first constructed as a military outpost in the 12th year of King Gia Long’s reign (1813), near the mouth of the Han River, to control access to Da Nang Port and serve as an important defensive position.

It was renamed as the Dien Hai Citadel in 1835, the 15th year of King Minh Mang’s reign, after it was moved inland and rebuilt on a high mount in 1823, the fourth year of Minh Mang’s reign.

The citadel still has a moat between two brick walls and a cannon collection displayed outdoors.

Last year, the city proposed that 11 iron cannons cast during the Nguyen Dynasty between 1802 and 1860 and unearthed at the Dien Hai Citadel between 1979 and 2008, be recognised as a national treasure.

The cannon collection and citadel are closely linked to Nguyen Tri Phuong (1800-73), a famous general who commanded an army and civilians in fighting against French-Spanish coalition forces in 1858-60.

Da Nang has 50 historical sites and 18 national historical monuments included in the city’s restoration project for 2016-20.-VNA