Journey Through Time: Discovering Ancient Ruins and Temples in Vietnam

Vietnam, with its rich history spanning thousands of years, is home to a plethora of ancient ruins and temples that bear witness to the country’s cultural heritage and spiritual legacy. From majestic citadels and imperial tombs to mystical pagodas and sacred sites, these ancient relics offer travelers a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s storied past and the civilizations that once thrived within its borders. Let’s embark on a journey through time to discover some of the most remarkable ancient ruins and temples in Vietnam, each steeped in history, legend, and timeless beauty.

My Son Sanctuary – The Cham Empire’s Spiritual Heart

Located in central Vietnam, My Son Sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves the remnants of the ancient Champa Kingdom, which flourished from the 4th to the 13th centuries. Nestled amidst dense forests, this archaeological site is home to a cluster of Hindu temples and religious structures dedicated to the worship of Shiva, Vishnu, and other Hindu deities. Despite centuries of war and natural disasters, My Son’s red brick towers and intricate carvings bear testament to the Cham’s mastery of architecture and craftsmanship, offering a glimpse into Vietnam’s rich cultural and religious history.


Hue Imperial City – The Glorious Seat of Vietnamese Emperors

Situated on the banks of the Perfume River in central Vietnam, Hue Imperial City is a sprawling complex of palaces, temples, and fortifications that served as the political and religious center of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945. Modeled after the Forbidden City in Beijing, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is enclosed by fortified walls and moats and is home to a treasure trove of architectural wonders, including the Thai Hoa Palace, the Forbidden Purple City, and the iconic Ngo Mon Gate. Visitors can explore the citadel’s grand halls, ornate pavilions, and tranquil gardens, immersing themselves in the opulence and majesty of Vietnam’s imperial past.

Temple of Literature – A Symbol of Scholarly Pursuit

Located in Hanoi, the Temple of Literature is Vietnam’s most revered Confucian temple and a symbol of scholarly pursuit and academic excellence. Built-in 1070 during the Ly Dynasty, this historic site served as Vietnam’s first university, where scholars and mandarins were trained in Confucian principles, literature, and poetry. The temple’s picturesque courtyards, pavilions, and stelae pavilions are adorned with stone steles inscribed with the names of scholars who passed the royal examinations, paying homage to Vietnam’s rich intellectual heritage and cultural legacy.

Po Nagar Cham Towers – Guardians of Ancient Cham Culture

Perched atop a hill overlooking the city of Nha Trang, the Po Nagar Cham Towers are a cluster of ancient Hindu temples dedicated to the goddess Po Nagar, a revered deity in Cham mythology. Built between the 7th and 12th centuries by the Cham people, these iconic towers are renowned for their exquisite architecture, intricate carvings, and spiritual significance. Visitors can explore the temple complex, marvel at the intricately carved sandstone sculptures depicting Hindu gods and goddesses, and admire panoramic views of Nha Trang Bay from the hilltop vantage point.

Thien Mu Pagoda – The Iconic Symbol of Hue

Perched on the banks of the Perfume River in Hue, Thien Mu Pagoda is Vietnam’s tallest pagoda and an iconic symbol of the city’s spiritual and cultural heritage. Built-in 1601 during the Nguyen Dynasty, this historic pagoda is adorned with traditional Vietnamese architecture, including a seven-story octagonal tower, pavilions, and courtyards. Visitors can explore the pagoda’s serene gardens, admire the intricate woodwork and stone carvings, and learn about the legends and folklore surrounding this sacred site.


Citadel of Ho Dynasty – A Testament to Vietnam’s Medieval Glory

Located in the Thanh Hoa Province of northern Vietnam, the Citadel of Ho Dynasty is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves the remnants of Vietnam’s short-lived Ho Dynasty, which ruled the country from 1400 to 1407. Built entirely of stone, this massive citadel is surrounded by thick walls and fortified ramparts, with its imposing gates, watchtowers, and palaces reflecting the architectural style and military prowess of Vietnam’s medieval rulers. Visitors can explore the citadel’s ancient ruins, wander through its labyrinthine corridors, and imagine life within its walls during the heyday of the Ho Dynasty.


Vietnam’s ancient ruins and temples are not just remnants of a bygone era but living testaments to the country’s rich history, cultural heritage, and spiritual legacy. From the mystical ruins of My Son Sanctuary to the majestic citadel of Hue Imperial City, each site offers a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s storied past and the civilizations that once thrived within its borders. So pack your bags, embark on a journey through time, and discover the timeless beauty and cultural richness of Vietnam’s ancient ruins and temples.

Read more: Vietnam’s Cultural Tapestry: Immersive Travel Experiences Across the Country