|Recognition: Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyễn Ngọc Thiện (right) hands over the certificate of National Special Relic for the Điện Hải Citadel in Đà Nẵng. — VNS Photo Lê Lâm|
ĐÀ NẴNG — The Điện Hải Citadel in the central city was officially recognised as a National Special Relic, under the Prime Minister’s decision signed last year, marking the 160th anniversary of the victory in fighting against French-Spanish coalition forces in 1858-60.
It’s also the first national special relic recognised among 50 historical sites and 18 national historical monuments in the city.
|Coming back: A plan for the restoration of the Điện Hải Citadel. — VNS Photo Công Thành|
The Điện Hải citadel, which was listed as a national historical monument in 1988, was first constructed as a military outpost in the 12th year of King Gia Long’s reign (1813), near the mouth of the Hàn River, to control access to Đà Nẵng Port and serve as an important defensive position.
It was renamed the Điện Hải Citadel in 1835, the 15th year of King Minh Mạng’s reign, after it was moved inland and rebuilt on a high mountain in 1823, the fourth year of Minh Mạng’s reign.
The city has been seeking a full collection of iron cannons cast during the Nguyễn Dynasty between 1802 and 1860 to gain recognition of a National Treasure.
The museum of Đà Nẵng still preserves 11 iron cannons that were unearthed at the Điện Hải Citadel between 1979 and 2008.
|This way in: An entrance gate of the Điện Hải Citadel. — VNS Photo Công Thành|
The cannon collection and citadel are closely linked to Nguyễn Tri Phương (1800-73), a famous general who commanded an army and civilians in fighting against French-Spanish coalition forces.
The citadel still has a moat between two brick walls and a cannon collection displayed outdoors.
At the recognisation ceremony yesterday, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyễn Ngọc Thiện asked the city to build up a master plan on the restoration of the citadel in connection with destinations in central Việt Nam in serving for tourism booming.
“The citadel was a symbol of Vietnamese indomitable struggles against invaders. The city should restore the citadel as original design since it was built nearly 200 years ago,” Thiện said.
“The Điện Hải Citadel will be a favourite destination in central Việt Nam with its magnificent history and culture value among foreign tourists and Vietnamese people.”
|Bombs away: A cannon set in the front yard of the Điện Hải Citadel. — VNS Photo Công Thành|
Many efforts have been made by the local administration to protect the site from damage and trespassers over past decades.
The museum of Đà Nẵng, which was built on the area of the citadel, with 80 households and buildings, had been removed in preparation for the restoration project.
The city also invested to upgrade the national relic grave of Khuê Trung in Hòa Vang District which is the resting place of 1,500 warriors and local people who died during the fight against French-Spanish forces.
Đà Nẵng also plans to recognise the graves of the French-Spanish forces killed in 1858-60 as a relic related to the Điện Hải Citadel.
Vice-chairman of the National Heritage Council, Đặng Văn Bài, said Điện Hải Citadel should be restored as a historical landmark to attract local and foreign tourists.
|Still standing: A corner of the interior brick wall of the Điện Hải Citadel. It was built as a military outpost in the 12th year of King Gia Long’s reign (1813), near the mouth of the Hàn River. — VNS Photo Công Thành|
He said the citadel may be the last monument in Đà Nẵng that symbolises the sacrifice of Đà Nẵng people and warriors in the fight against the foreign forces.
Director of the city’s Culture and Sports department, Huỳnh Văn Hùng said it was a great endeavour to protect the relics that symbolise the history and foundation of Đà Nẵng City.
He said the citadel, which is now the site of the city’s museum on Trần Phú Street, had been encroached by public and residential buildings and projects between 1998-2014.
As planned, the restoration project of the Điện Hải Citadel will be built in two stages between 2018-20 in making it as heart of the city’s cultural square and top destination in the near future. — VNS