Decision : 35 COM 8B.29
Cultural Properties - Citadel of the Ho Dynasty (Viet Nam)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-11/35.COM/8B and WHC-11/35.COM/INF.8B1,

2. Acknowledging the designation of the La Thanh Outer Wall as National Heritage and the recent adoption of legal documents to enhance the protection and preservation of the property,

3. Inscribes the Citadel of the Ho Dynasty, Viet Nam, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (ii) and (iv);

4. Takes note of the following provisional Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:


Brief synthesis

The Citadel of Ho Dynasty built in 1397, composed of the Inner Citadel, La thanh Outer Wall and the Nam Giao Altar covers 155.5 ha, surrounded by a buffer zone of 5078.5 ha. It is located in accordance with geomantic principles in a landscape of great scenic beauty between the Ma and Buoi rivers in Vinh Loc district, Thanh Hoa province of Viet Nam.

The Inner Citadel constructed of large limestone blocks represents a new development of architectural technology and urban planning in an East Asian and South-East Asian context. It demonstrates the use of architectural elements in terms of space management and decoration designed for a centralized imperial city in order to show a concept of royal power, based on the adoption of the Confucian philosophy within a predominantly Buddhist culture.

Being the capital of Viet Nam from 1398 to 1407 and also the political, economic and culture centre of the North Central Viet Nam from the 16th to the 18th century, it bears an exceptional testimony to a critical period in Vietnamese and South-East Asian history when traditional kingship and Buddhist values were giving way to new trends in technology, commerce and centralized administration.

Criterion (ii): The property exhibits important interchanges of values in terms of Chinese Confucianism influence on a symbol of regal centralized power in the late 14th - early 15th century. It represents new developments in architectural style with respect to technology and urban planning in an East Asian and South-East Asian context, makes full use of the natural surroundings and incorporated distinctly Vietnamese and East and Southeast Asian elements in its monuments and urban landscape.

Criterion (iv): It is an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble in a landscape setting which illustrates a flowering of pragmatic Neo-Confucianism in late 14th century Viet Nam, at a time when it was spreading throughout East Asia to become a major philosophical influence on government in the region. The use of large blocks of stone testifies to the organizational power of the Neo-Confucian state, reflects the exchanges in building technologies in South-East Asian region, and the shift in the main axis distinguishes the Citadel layout from the Chinese norm.


The integrity of the property is guaranteed by the areas of the three major components which represent the characteristics of the Ho Dynasty: the Inner Citadel, the Nam Giao altar and part of La Thanh Outer Wall. These elements reflect the presence of a citadel that has remained almost intact, with massive stone wall within a landscape setting that is easily recognizable. Excavations have also demonstrated a rich source of archaeological evidence preserved underground below the present rice and other crops within the boundaries of the three components.


The conditions of authenticity in terms of the geo-cultural location and landscape setting of the property are almost unchanged; the layout and architectural design and materials of the Inner Citadel's walls, four gates, sections of moat, and section of La Thanh Outer Wall and archaeological remains of Nam Giao Altar are well preserved. The archaeological excavations in the property reveal well-preserved structures contemporaneous with the Ho Dynasty. The buffer zone includes all cultural elements that were part of a large imperial city during the late 14th - early 15th century, including religious monuments, traditional villages, common houses, ancient roads, markets, landing places and scenic beauty spots, which are a direct tangible expression of the cultural values of the property.

Protection and management requirements

The boundaries of the property and the buffer zone are well protected by the Law of Cultural Heritage and related laws of Viet Nam, and by the Regulations of Thanh Hoa People's Committee. The property is directly managed by the Conservation Center of the Ho Citadel. A Management Plan for the property was adopted in November, 2010. The decision on the promulgation of management of planning, renovating and constructing the project of Vinh Loc Town and surrounding areas relating to the Ho Citadel (Decision No. 1784/QD-UBND) is the legal document for the control of urban development near the Inner Citadel, in Vinh Loc town particularly along the axis between the Inner Citadel and Mount Don Son, and in the buffer zone generally, so as to protect all view lines along the axes between topographical features, and views within the area enclosed by the line of the outer wall and the Ma and Buoi rivers. A special attention is needed for development of risk-preparedness and management strategy and a strategy for involving local people in the protection and management of the property. The local authority and people are working closely for the preservation and protection of the property through a training and public-awareness raising program.


5. Recommends that the State Party :

a) Extend the property boundary to encompass the landscape setting of the Ho Citadel, including the Imperial Way from the South gate of the Inner Citadel to the Nam Giao Altar, as well as traditional villages, religious monuments, ancient roads, markets, landing places, imperial tombs, caves and scenic view points within the line of the La Thanh Outer Wall,

b) Undertake a systematic inventory of the temples, caves, villages and other places such as the royal landing place, stone landing place and associated folklore that have connections with the Ho Dynasty and comprise attributes of Outstanding Universal Value,

c) Undertake a strategic archaeological investigation program directed at understanding drainage problems in the Inner Citadel and elements embodying the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including validation of the line of the Imperial Way,

d) Clarify the composition of the Management Plan Zone 2: Historical village and standing monument protected zone,

e) Review the Management Plan in relation to the expanded property boundary and amend it accordingly,

f) Develop a risk-preparedness and management strategy in the event of storms causing landslides at the Nam Giao Altar site and floods affecting the La Thanh Outer Wall and other sites,

g) Set-up a waste management system at the Inner Citadel,

h) Encourage involvement of local people in the protection and management of the property.

Themes: Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties: Viet Nam
Year: 2011
Decision Code: 35 COM 8B.29