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Ancient Citadel of Quang Tri, Vietnam

Note: All images were taken from Quang Tri Citadel a historical landmark located at Nguyên Tri Phuong, Phuòng 2, Quang Tri, 532700, Vietnam.

During the Vietnam War, many ancient citadel areas in Vietnam played a critical role in the military strategy of both the North Vietnamese Army and the United States military.

These citadels served as strategic locations due to their elevated positions and defensive capabilities. On April 12th, 2023, the School of International Training Vietnam program gave the opportunity for scholars to engage more with the 19th-century fort destroyed in the Vietnam War with a memorial to many fallen soldiers and the implications on the Vietnamese environment. The aim of the visual essay is to engage people worldwide to learn more about the history of citadels and their environments and the impact they have had on the course of history. By using visual media, the essay seeks to provide a compelling and immersive experience that enables viewers to appreciate the rich cultural and historical significance of these sites.

Citadel Insights

A citadel is a fortified structure that was designed to serve as a central point of strategic military, political, and cultural power. It was typically constructed on elevated terrain to provide a strategic advantage and to enable a clear view of the surrounding landscape. It was designed to serve as a stronghold or a place of refuge during times of conflict or siege. The citadels in Vietnam were used for a variety of purposes, such as providing a secure location for government officials, military personnel, and the ruling class. They also played a significant role in controlling access to strategic locations, such as ports, waterways, and trade routes, and served as a symbol of power and authority.

Left: The liberation soldiers in co-operation with Cam Lo Militia are pulling artillery to the battlefield.

Citadels were commonly used as a means of controlling accesss to strategic locations, such as ports, waterways and trade routes. They were used as a means of asserting power and control over a particular territory to protect against invasion or rebellion. In times of peace, citadels could be used for a variety of purposes, such as housing government officials or providing a location for cultural events and celebrations.

One of the most notable citadels in Vietnam is the Old Citadel of Quang Tri, which played a significant role in the Vietnam War. It was strategically located near the demilitarized zone that separated North and South Vietnam and was the site of intense fighting between the two sides.

Left: "The soldiers of light artillery squad 82 (Platoon 5, Regiment 95) during days and nights of fighting to protect ancient Citadel."

There are many other ancient citadel areas in Vietnam such as the Hue Citadel. The citadel, built in the early 19th century, served as the seat of the Nguyen Dynasty and was a significant cultural and historical site. During the Vietnam War, the Hue Citadel became a hotly contested battleground between the North Vietnamese Army and the South Vietnamese Army, with heavy fighting taking place within the walls of the citadel itself. The Battle of Hue, which lasted for nearly a month, resulted in significant damage to the citadel and the loss of many historic buildings. Another ancient citadel area that played a crucial role in the war was the Thang Long Citadel in Hanoi.

The Thang Long Citadel, dating back to the 11th century, was a symbol of Vietnamese independence and sovereignty. During the war, the North Vietnamese Army used the Thang Long Citadel as a base of operations and a location to store weapons and supplies. The citadel was heavily bombed by the United States military, resulting in significant damage to many historic buildings. The citadel in the ancient city of Quang Tri was also a key strategic location during the war. The citadel, built in the 1820s, was situated on the main road between North and South Vietnam and was a vital transportation hub. Control of the citadel allowed for control of the road, and as such, it was a critical objective for both sides. The citadel was heavily damaged during the war, with only a few walls remaining today.

"Quang Tri Town in Beginning of 1972"

The ancient citadel areas in Vietnam played a significant role in the Vietnam War, serving as strategic locations for both the North Vietnamese Army and the United States military. These sites, which had great historical and cultural value, suffered significant damage and destruction during the conflict, and their impact is still felt today.

"Pictures of some people armed forces heroes who fought in Quang Tri field in 1972."

Left: "The smile against bombs and bullets."

Right: "Trieu Phong fisherman and his child are carrying the soldiers and weapons supportin to the Ancient Citadel."

The old citadel of Quang Tri is an architectural and cultural treasure that bears witness to Vietnam's turbulent past. The citadel was once a stronghold for the Vietnamese emperors and later became a strategic location during the Vietnam War. Its history is intertwined with the experiences of the veterans who fought in the war, and visiting the site on April 12th provided a rare opportunity to capture data and images of those who witnessed the conflict.

Quang Tri is a province in central Vietnam that has a rich and complex history. The region was once home to the Cham people, who built temples and cities in the area. The Cham were the inhabitants of the medieval Hindu kingdom of Champa. Later, the region was ruled by the Vietnamese emperors, who constructed the citadel at Quang Tri to protect the region from invaders. During the Vietnam War, Quang Tri was a key battleground, and the citadel became a strategic location for both sides.

Visiting the old citadel of Quang Tri on April 12th provided a unique opportunity to capture data and images of the veterans who witnessed the war. The veterans' experiences and stories are a vital part of Vietnam's history, and their firsthand accounts shed light on the human cost of war. The citadel's walls and ramparts, pockmarked with bullet holes and shrapnel, serve as a tangible reminder of the violence and destruction that occurred during the war.

The opportunity to capture data and images of the veterans who were impacted by the war underscores the importance of preserving their memories and experiences. The old citadel of Quang Tri is a symbol of the resilience of the Vietnamese people, who have overcome countless obstacles throughout their history. It is also a reminder of the human cost of war and the need to work towards peace and reconciliation.

"The soldiers of Bong Lau Division actively transferred weapons for Quang Tri Liberation campaign in 1972"

"South Vietnamese Soldiers were captured at La Vang Base."

"A female propagandist disseminated policies and guidelines of revolution."

"Nguyen Xuat Hien (14 years old) fights and serves for fighting in three months ceaselessly at Quang Tri Ancient Citadel"

"Female Guerrilla of Quang Tri Ancient Citadel."

"Ban dô vi trí thành Quang Tri trong dia hat cua hai huyen Dang Xuong và Hai Lnag, duoc lâp thòi ky 1886-1889- Tri Citadel Area"

"Political commander Vu Trung Thuong disseminated the enemy fighting plan at Long Hung section."

"The victory flag flapped on the top of enemy headquarter's bunker in Doc Mieu, April 1st, 1972."

"B-52 bomb raids destroyed Quang Tri Town."

"The soldiers of light artillery unit bravely held on and ruined counter-attacks of the enemy."

"Dung si Luong Van Bao- K8- Que xa Kenh Cau- Dong Than- Yen My- Hung Yen"

"Traveling and learning about other cultures is not a luxury, but a necessity for survival in today's interconnected world."
- John Mbiti, Kenyan philosopher and anthropologist.


  1. Quang Tri Citadel - Vietnam Tourism:

  2. Vietnam War: History, Causes, Facts & Impact - HISTORY:

  3. Quang Tri Province - Vietnam National Administration of Tourism:

  4. "Vietnam: A History" by Stanley Karnow:

  5. "The Vietnam War: An Intimate History" by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns:

Vietnam Landscapes:

Vietnam is a country that is known for its diverse and stunning landscapes, each offering a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and historical significance. From the mountainous north to the coastal south, Vietnam's landscapes provide a captivating glimpse into the country's rich history and culture. In the north of Vietnam, the landscape is dominated by soaring mountains, verdant valleys, and cascading waterfalls. The towering peaks of the Hoang Lien Son range are home to some of the country's most spectacular scenery, with terraced rice fields cascading down the hillsides and traditional hill tribe villages perched atop the ridges.

Moving towards the central region of Vietnam, the landscape changes to a more varied terrain, with rolling hills, dense forests, and fertile river deltas. The city of Hue, located on the banks of the Perfume River, is known for its historic Imperial Citadel and ancient pagodas that offer a glimpse into Vietnam's rich cultural heritage.

Further south, the landscape becomes flatter and more coastal, with long stretches of pristine beaches, lush mangrove forests, and extensive wetlands. The Mekong Delta, one of the most significant agricultural regions in the country, is a vast network of rivers, canals, and rice paddies that provide a unique insight into the traditional way of life in Vietnam.

Throughout the country, Vietnam's landscapes are infused with a rich history and cultural significance that has been shaped by centuries of conflict, colonization, and migration. From the towering peaks of the north to the coastal plains of the south, Vietnam's landscapes are a testament to the country's resilience and adaptability, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and historical significance. Vietnam's landscapes are incredibly diverse, ranging from soaring mountains and verdant valleys to rolling hills, pristine beaches, and vast wetlands. Each landscape offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and historical significance, providing a captivating glimpse into the country's rich history and culture.

"The study of culture is not just an intellectual pursuit, but a way of life. It requires a deep commitment to understanding and appreciating the values and beliefs of other societies."

- Ifi Amadiume, Nigerian feminist scholar and anthropologist.


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