CNN feature on the Ho Citadel

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Ho Citadel. Source: CNN 20150826

Inscribed into the World Heritage List in 2011, the Ho Citadel in Vietnam is one of the less-known sites, even in the region.

Ho Citadel. Source: CNN 20150826

Ho Citadel. Source: CNN 20150826

Most unlikely UNESCO site: The empty citadel of Vietnam, 26 August 2015

You might expect a communist government to distance itself from its imperial past, but the Vietnamese regime has seen the value in celebrating the country’s bygone emperors and promoting its ancient citadels as tourist destinations.

Since 1993, eight Vietnamese locations — including three citadels — have been designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, with another seven awaiting formal classification.

Many of these sites are of great natural or historical significance, such as Ha Long Bay and the complex of monuments in Hue.

But the citadel to most recently acquire UNESCO’s seal of approval (in 2011) is the almost unknown Ho Citadel, situated in a remote backwater of Thanh Hoa Province, around 150 kilometers south of Hanoi.

The choice of the Ho Citadel for such a prestigious honor is strange for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the Ho Dynasty lasted just seven years (1400-1407), a mere drop in the ocean of Vietnam’s turbulent history.

Secondly, the citadel is empty.

Full story here.