Built in 1397 under the Ho dynasty as the capital of Dai Ngu, the citadel is unique for its outstanding construction technique which used large blocks of stone, weighing from 10 tonnes to 26 tonnes each, carefully shaped, interlocked, and elevated to about 10 meters high. The citadel served as a military stronghold to protect the country from invasion, thus becoming a symbol of patriotism, and a witness of Vietnamese history during the late 14th and early 15th century.

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink and delegates cut the ribbon to unveil the project.

In 2018, the AFCP approved a grant of 92,500 USD to conserve southern gate of the citadel, the most important remaining structure of the citadel, which had been seriously damaged over time.

Speaking at the ceremony, US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink said: “The Citadel – its construction, layout, placement in the landscape, and the organization needed to build it – tells us so much about the people that built it and the society around them. It really is a part of the heritage of all of humanity.”

The event is part of the U.S. Mission in Vietnam’s activities to celebrate the 25th anniversary of U.S.-Vietnam diplomatic relations.  The U.S. diplomat said: “Cultural heritage preservation is only one of many fields of cooperation between our two countries. In areas as diverse as trade, development, education, health care, energy, and security, the U.S. and a strong and independent Vietnam are working together with a shared commitment to peace and prosperity.”

As part of his visit to Thanh Hoa  and Ninh Binh provinces, Ambassador Kritenbrink visited Quang Trung Kindergarten built with Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance funds in 2012, toured Ham Rong Bridge with Vietnamese and American veterans, including those who fought to defend the bridge during the war, paid a courtesy call to Thanh Hoa provincial Party Secretary and People’s Committee Chairman, delivered remarks at the Opening Ceremony of an English Access Micro-Scholarship Program at Thanh Hoa Ethnic Minority Boarding High School, talked with teachers and students of Lam Son Gifted High School, met alumni of U.S. Government exchanges, and visited Phat Diem Church.

Ambassador Kritenbrink listens to a presentation on the history of Ho Citadel.

The visit of Ambassador Kritenbrink to Thanh Hoa  and Ninh Binh provinces reaffirms U.S. commitment to partner with Vietnam: “As we celebrate a quarter century of partnership this year, let us renew our commitment to work together to ensure a bright future full of peace and prosperity for the American and Vietnamese people.  Because we know: As trusted partners, we prosper together,” said Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink.

Reported by Song Anh