Construction of the Lam Kinh citadel, also known as Tay Kinh (West citadel) began in 1433. The citadel is located in Xuan Lam Commune, approximately 50 kilometers from Thanh Hoa City, in north-west Vietnam.
The citadel is both an original imperial temple of the latter Le dynasty and the historic location of the Tay Son uprising.
Lam Kinh sits in a stately manner on the Chu River, with Chu Son mountain in the distance and with its back to Dau mountain. It lays a leisurely arm on Phu Lam forest and Ngoc mountain on the eastern side, and another on the Huong and Ham Rong range of mountains on the western side. Whilst the citadel still enjoys the natural scenery of hills and rivers around it, many architectural works inside have been destroyed.
However recent preservation projects have restored some of the more significant artifacts, such as the main palace, tombstone houses, King Le's temple, the temple of national hero Le Lai and King Le Hien Tong's tomb and stele, to name a few.
Lam Kinh citadel covers an area larger than 86,000 square meters. It can be reached by the Bach bridge, crossing over the Ngoc (jade) stream inside the main gate.
The courtyard in front of the palace comes into sight solemnly behind the Ngoc (jade) well, which obstructs the view from the Ngo Mon gate. The 1,700 square meters main palace is about 1.8 meter higher than the yard and carefully designed in the "Cong" (Work) style of Quang Duc, Sung Hieu, and Dien Khanh temples. Dragon-shaped corridors wind around the nine steps from Quang Duc temple to the yard, revealing the great magnificence of the ancient royal court.
The spacious royal temple of ancestors separated from the main palace by a tiled floor includes the nine buildings where the kings and queens of the Le dynasty are worshipped. Lam Kinh historic location is also the site of a number of important royal tombs and tombstones, including Vinh Lang stone stele, Huu tomb of king Le Thai Tong and Chieu tomb of Le Thanh Tong. Situated in the north of the main palace, the Vinh Lang relic of the founder of the dynasty is famous for its delicate flowery decoration and farewell letters of famous cultural scholar Nguyen Trai.
This year's Lam Kinh festival promises to be a momentous event. It is the 590th anniversary of the Lam Son up rising, the 580th anniversary of the coronation of king Le Thai To, and the 575th death anniversary of the national hero Le Loi. The festival will take place from September 19 to 21 with many festive activities taking place in temples 4,5, and 6, in Xuan Lam Commune and in other venues around Thanh Hoa City. Martial art and wrestling competitions as well as traditional opera and folk song performances will take place in the Xuan Lam Commune, and the Lam Kinh Management Committee will house antiques from the Le dynasty, artistic pictures, and a food market. An impressive parade will be held at Le Lai temple to mark the occasion of the anniversary of the hero's death.
The festival will be broadcast live on Vietnam Television on September 21, 2008 in the morning.
Source: SGT - Vietnamtourism