Doan Mon Gate of Thang Long Imperial Citadel
Doan Mon Gate, the main entrance gate of the Forbidden City, Thang Long Imperial citadel, Ba Dinh, Hanoi.
Doan Mon is directed toward the south because it's the most important direction for ancient structures of Vietnamese. The gate was built in the Le Dynasty (15th century) with restorations carried out during the Nguyen Dynasty (19th century). Doan Mon, together with an area behind it formerly known as Long Tri (Dragon Courtyard), played a very important role in the ceremonies of the Royal Citadel such as the ceremony for national loyalty Oath (1128); Nhan Vuong Festival, Quang Chieu Colored Lantern Festival (1136); the parade of imperial guards (1351) and ceremonies for the mandarin examinations (1457, 1466, 1481, 1496).
When Ha Noi Citadel was destroyed by French colonialists in late 19th century, Doan Mon has been one of some structures which has still existed. Doan Mon constructed of stone and brick has three floors. The first floor includes 5 doors, of which the central door reserved for the Emperor is the largest one with 4m in height and 2.7m in width. A stone tablet with the words "Doan Mon" in Chinese characters is fixed above the central door. There are two smaller doors (3.8m in height and 2.5m in width) in the each side of the central door reserved for the mandarins and members of the royal family. In addition, there are also two secondary gates in the both side of the main entrance.
The second floor is surrounded by a balustrade and reached by two flights of stairs. Its doors are opening to the east, west, south and north and decorated with hexagons, crosses, lozenges and the Chinese symbol for longevity. The third floor features a gazebo-style pavilion with two-layer roof. The first layer of roof is tiled and ornamented with dragons at the up-turned corners. The upper layer of roof, also tiled, features decorative foliage at the up-turned corners and dragon heads at each end of the ridge line. The two layers of roof are separated by short timber walls. Dragon faces adorn the gables.
After the Viet Nam military liberated the capital in 1954, Ha Noi Citadel including Doan Mon has become head office of Ministry of National Defence. In 1998, Ministry of National Defence handed Doan Mon over to Ha Noi People's Committee with total area of 3,970m². Doan Mon has been opened for visitors since October, 2011.
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