293 The Citadel and the TET Offensive


This area has been a population center for more than 700 years. The walled city was built in 1803 as the Vietnamese Imperial Citadel. It served as the Capital of Vietnam from 1804 until 1945. It is considered a treasure by the people of Vietnam. 

The US Military didn’t believe that the North would ever engage in a head on assault. That attitude changed on January 31, 1968 the beginning of the TET Holiday. This was to be the longest and bloodiest battle of the offensive.

Both the North and South Vietnamese considered the Citadel a National Treasure. The US initially decided not to shell it for that reason. However as the battle wore on and the Red Flag continued to wave over it, that changed.  Artillary from ships and attacks by air almost reduced it to rubble.


It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. Much of it has been rebuilt to original specifications. Re-construction is still ongoing.