As the capital of the Au Lac state under the reign of An Duong Vuong around the 3rd century BC, Co Loa is the oldest citadel in Vietnam. Currently, Co Loa still has vestiges of ramparts and unique constructions: An Duong Vuong temple, Co Loa communal house, My Chau temple… 

Co Loa citadel

According to legend, this citadel has 9 ancient spirals. Based on the traces, scientists determined that the citadel had 3 layered. The outer circumference is 8 km, the middle circle is 6.5 km, the inner circle is 1.6 km. Among them, the inner rampart may have been made later, during Ngo Quyen’s time.

In the inner rampart, there is a temple worshiping An Duong Vuong or Co Loa temple, which is said to have been built on the foundation of the inner palace of An Duong Vuong in the past. It is unclear when the temple was built, we only know that the building was repaired in 1687, 1893 and has recently undergone a major restoration.

An Duong Vuong temple

The main structures of the temple are the three gates, the forecourt, the upper palace, the stele house and ancient wells. The architectural lines of the temple exude a mossy, ancient look.

In the innermost part of the upper palace of Co Loa temple is the harem, where a large wooden altar to worship An Duong Vuong. On the altar is a bronze statue of An Duong Vuong cast in 1897, weighing 255kg.

An Duong Vuong temple

In front of Co Loa temple there is a semicircular lake, with a circular bank in the middle forming a Jade well. Legend said this is where Trong Thuy committed suicide after betraying My Chau.

Jade well

Another important building in the inner citadel is Co Loa communal house, which is said to have been built at the king’s court in Co Loa capital, so it is also called Ngu Trieu Di Quy communal house. The communal house has a long history, rebuilt in 1907.

Co Loa temple

The communal house has a grand communal house and a harem, located in a spacious campus. The great communal house consists of a room, two wings, a wooden frame structure, a tiled roof, and four curved corners. The house is supported by 6 rows of pillars with a majestic scale.

Co Loa temple

The harem of Co Loa communal house has a altar to worship King An Duong Vuong and general Cao Lo.

Co Loa temple
Behind Co Loa communal house is Bao Son pagoda, also known as Co Loa pagoda, a pagoda with a history of many centuries. The main buildings of the pagoda include the main hall, harem, corridor and Mau house.

Co Loa Pagoda

The pagoda still retains many valuable antiques such as 19th-century statues of the “Four sacred”, 134 statues, 5 stone steles from the 17th to 19th centuries, two great bells cast in 1803 and other valuable artifacts.

Co Loa Pagoda

On the left of Co Loa communal house is My Chau Shrine, which worships My Chau, the princess beheaded by An Duong Vuong for treason in ancient legend. The shrine’s architectural layout includes pre-sacrificial buildings, middle hall and harem.

My Chau Shrine

The shrine’s harem is a place to worship a stone slab shaped like a headless person sitting in a cross-legged position, with both arms parallel and his hands resting on his knees, which is said to be the headless remains of My Chau.

My Chau Shrine

In front of My Chau hermitage there is a large banyan tree, hundreds of years old.

My Chau Shrine

Located between Co Loa temple and Co Loa communal house, there is a temple worshiping Cao Lo, a talented general under An Duong Vuong.

Cao Lo Temple

According to history books, General Cao Lo was the creator of the crossbow that shot many arrows at the same time. He was also the commander of the construction of the historic Co Loa citadel.

Cao Lo

Besides historical relics, a place not to be missed in Co Loa citadel is the Co Loa Antiquities Gallery. This project is located opposite Cao Lo temple.

Co Loa

This is where valuable archaeological artifacts found in Co Loa are kept. These artifacts contribute to recreating the life and culture of Vietnamese people during the reign of An Duong Vuong.

Co Loa Antiquities Gallery

In addition to the above locations, Co Loa citadel also has many temples, shrines, natural scenery, typical activities of a village in the Northern countryside… inviting visitors from far away to explore.

Source: collected by An

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