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    Hanoi Flag tower - a sacred symbol of Hanoi

    The Flag Tower is certainly not a French Colonial structure, but as one of only two remaining relics from Nguyen Emperor Gia Long’s nineteenth-century Citadel (1812), it is well worth a look, not only for its historical interest, but especially for the view from the top, if the tower is open.

    Hanoi Flag tower - a sacred symbol of Hanoi

    In fact, it is courtesy of the French that the Flag Tower still stands – they found it useful as a watchtower when they demolished the Nguyen Citadel.

    Vietnam’s flag, gold star on a red field, has flown proudly from the tower, day and night since 10 October 1954. Entrance to the Flag Tower on the left, is through the grounds of the Museum of Military History, littered with wrecked planes and the remnants of armaments. Inside with wrecked planes and the remnants of armaments. Inside the museum (for which you will have bought a ticket in order to see the Flag Tower) is a model of the 938 AD battle of Bach Dang River where General Ngo Quyen defeated the Chinese, as well as a scale model of the battle of Dien Bien Phu and he very bicycle used by the Vietnamese to transport artillery to the decisive French-Vietnamese showdown.

    Hanoi Flag tower - a sacred symbol of Hanoi1

    The flagpole is mounted on a three-tiered square brick platform – anything but beautiful. If you are lucky and the tower is unlocked, from the top on a clear day you can just make out the metal arches of Long Bien Bridge off to the east, or look down into what was the Citadel area, now the Vietnamese army headquarters and out of bounds to visitors. Only the old North Gate of the Nguyen Citadel (Cua Bac) is one view, its brickwork heavily scarred by a French bombardment in 1882.

    Source: vietnamnow.org
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