Son Phong citadel located in Phu Gia Commune in Huong Khe District in the central province of Ha Tinh is one of the few citadels made from mud, dating back almost 130 years.
The citadel bears the imprints of King Ham Nghi and Can Vuong Movement against the French Colonialists in late 19th century.
|A temple commemorating King Ham Nghi at the Son Phong relic complex (Photo: Sggp)|
It runs along the Truong Son mountain range, near the Vietnam-Lao border. The construction was built from 1883 to 1884 by people and local authorities of 40 communes in districts Huong Khe, Huong Son, Duc Tho, Hong Linh, Thanh Ha, Can Loc, Cam Xuyen and Ky Anh.
The citadel, covering an area of around 43,656 square meters has a height of 1-2 meter and width of 3 meters and is surrounded by a moat 1.7 meters deep and 5.8 meters wide.
According to Ho Bach Khoa, head of Nguyen Du Historical Site management board, who has spent many years researching Son Phong citadel, the citadel was chosen as the headquarters for military training. King Ham Nghi came here to meet with his generals and intellectuals such as Phan Dinh Phung, Le Ninh, Dinh Cong Trang, Ton That Dam and Nguyen Pham Tuan to promulgate the Can Vuong Movement calling on people to rise against the invaders for national salvation in 1885-1888.
The citadel has been seriously damaged from war and natural disasters. The relic complex of Son Phong Citadel, Tram Lam and Cong Dong (Community) Temples was recognized as a national cultural and historical complex in 2001 by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Son Phong citadel has since been restored to its original design.
Besides Son Phong citadel, citadels made of mud are in Co Loa in Hanoi dating back 2,000 years and the Xich Tho citadel in Quang Binh Province dating more than 400 years.
A temple commemorating King Ham Nghi and other restoration works in the relic complex will be complete soon. The works were kicked off in March 2009 at a total cost of about VND5 billion.