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Quan Chuong Gate – the ancient beauty of Hanoi architecture

Quan Chuong Gate, located in the East of Thang Long Citadel, is an old Hanoi gate. It was built in 1749 – the tenth year of Canh Hung and reconstructed in 1804 – the third year of Gia Long. It has remained intact since 1804. It is one of the 21 gates of the old Thang Long Citadel, a national relic, recognized in 1995.


Quan Chuong Gate in the old times

Today most of “O” (gates) can only remain in the name of streets or markets. For example, O Cho Dua – the name of a market in the southwest of the city; O Cau Giay –  now known as the name of a bridge spanning To Lich river, haven’t had any architectures to recall the ancient vestige.  Fortunately, Hanoi still has an almost intact gate that is O Quan Chuong.

Quan Chuong Gate in the old times

Quan Chuong Gate is located on O Quan Chuong Street, at the beginning of Hang Chieu Street. The main entrance of the gate faces the east and the Red River; Its back is looking to the west and Hang Chieu Street. In terms of its architecture, the gate holds 3 arched doorways, a guarding gazebo on top of the main door. The gate was built with three large arched shapes. Formerly, O Quan Chuong was a large thick wooden gate, at night the soldiers closed the gates and opened it early morning for people to travel and trade.

Quan Chuong Gate in the old times

 Today, Quan Chuong Gate has remained the main door and two side doors. On top of the main entrance is a guarding gazebo (vong lau).  On the left of the main door is a stone stele engraved in 1882 with the order of Governor Hoang Dieu prohibiting soldiers from harassing funerals going through the gate for bribes.

 

Quan Chuong Gate 

Đông Hà Môn

 Built in 1749 – the tenth year of Canh Hung, O Quan Chuong was originally called Dong Ha Mon (Dong Ha gate or the gate of Dong Ha ward). Quan Chuong is the gate in the eastern wall, surrounding the ancient Thang Long citadel. The gate has been restored and repaired twice – in the 3rd year (1804) and the 16th (1817) year of Gia Long. The current architecture is the result of the fist repair in 1804.

Life around Quan Chuong Gate today

 The gate was called O Quan Chuong to commemorate the merit and sacrifice of a general from Bac Ninh. He joined about 100 soldiers of the Nguyen Dynasty to fight French troops when they attacked Hanoi citadel for the first time in 1873 through the gate of Dong Ha.

Quan Chuong Gate

O Quan Chuong was designed as a vong lau (a gazebo) – a typical architecture of the Nguyen dynasty. Its front faces O Quan Chuong Street (Hang Chieu Street), where people trade sedge mat, and the products from coastal areas: Ninh Binh, Thai Binh, and Nam Dinh. The materials used to build the gate are large-sized bricks and stones, which are similar to materials used to build the Temple of Literature. The gate has 2 storeys. The first storey has three doors: the main entrance in the middle of 3 meters high and 3 meters wide, and two side doors of about 1.65 meters wide, 2.5 meters high.  All three doors are designed in the arched shape.

Quan Chuong Gate was designed as a vong lau (a gazebo)

The main materials used to build the gate are large-sized bricks

All three doors are designed in the arched shape

 Right on the top of the main door is a gazebo with a pyramid hip roof, surrounded by rails decorated with hexagons, quadrilaterals, rosettes. In the past, the soldiers stood guard in this gazebo. On the front of the main door, there is a rectangular frame with three embossed three blue porcelain Chinese characters – Dong Ha Gate.

Upstairs is a gazebo with a  pyramid hip roof

Quan Chuong Gate

Quan Chuong Gate at night

Today, Quan Chuong Gate still stands proudly in the heart of Hanoi’s old quarter and is living proof of Vietnamese’s resilient fighting spirit.  Quan Chuong Gate is so imposing and majestic that it is always a symbol of the ancient citadel. It has not only architectural beauty but also the historical significance of an ancient capital – a thousand years of civilization. How precious when Hanoi remains a majestic Quan Chuong Gate!

 

 

By Bình Minh

                                                                                   Photo: Collected