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Hanoi Travel Guide

 

Hanoi is the capital of Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Ha Noi lies in Red River Delta and is situated in a tropical area having a strong monsoon influence. The name of Ha Noi (Interior side of a river) has been derived from an ancient language which is literally known as a land area located in the inner side of Red River. It does not mean that the city is inside the river, but it is embraced by about 100 km of the Red River dykes. Ha Noi has nine inner precincts (Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, Hai Ba Trung, Dong Da, Cau Giay, Tay Ho, Thanh Xuan, Long Bien, Hoang Mai) and five suburban districts (Tu Liem, Thanh Tri, Gia Lam, Dong Anh and Soc Son).

One- Pillar Pagoda

Chua mot cot (One-pillar Pagoda) : Its original name was Dien Huu (long-lasting happiness and good luck). Legend has it that King Lư Thai Tong was very old and had no son of his own. Therefore, he often went to pagodas to pray for Buddha's blessing so that he might have a son. One night, he had a dream that he was granted a private audience with Buddha with a male baby in his hands. Buddha, sitting on a lotus flower in a square-shaped lotus pond in the western side of Thang Long Citadel, gave the king the baby. Months later, the queen got pregnant and gave birth to a male child*. To repay gift from Buddha, the king ordered the construction of a pagoda which was supported by only one pillar resembling a lotus seat on which Buddha had been seated. The pagoda was dedicated to Buddha.

Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature) was built in 1070 as a dedication to the founder of Confucianism. Six years later, Quoc Tu Giam - the first university of Vietnam - was built in the premises of Van Mieu. Quoc Tu Giam was the first school for princes and children of royal family members. In 1482, King Le Thanh Tong ordered the erection of steles with inscription of all the names, birth dates and birth places of doctors and other excellent graduates who took part in examinations since 1442. Each stela is placed on the back of a turtle representing the nation's longevity. During Nha Nguyen (Nguyen Dynasty), Temple of Literature was moved to Phu Xuan (Hue Royal City).

Golden Lotus Pagoda (Kim Lien Pagoga).

* Chua Kim Lien (Kim Lien Pagoda) : Legend has it that in the 12th century, Princess Tu Hoa, daughter of King Lư Than Ton , led her ladies-in-waiting to this area. They cultivated mulberry and silkworms to make silk. Later, a pagoda was built right on the site and by 1771, it was named Kim Lien (Golden Lotus).

Quan Su Pagoda

*Chua Quan Su (Quan Su Pagoda) was built in the 17th century. It is located in the street of the same name. Since 1958, Vietnam Buddhism Association has used this pagoda as its head office.

Quan Thanh Temple

* Den Quan Thanh (Quan Thanh Temple) : The three ancient Chinese characters which are still seen today on the top of the entrance to the temple mean Tran Vu Quan. Literally, the temple is dedicated to Saint Tran Vu. Temples are places for worshipping saints while pagodas are dedicated to Buddha and faithful disciplines. Saint Tran Vu was a legendary figure which was a combination between a legendary character in Vietnam's legend and a mystic character derived from China's legend. In Vietnam's legend, he was a saint who had earned the merits of assisting Thuc Phan (future King An Duong Vuong) in getting rid of ghost spirit during the construction of CoLoa Citadel. An Duong Vuong Temple in CoLoa Citadel (Dong Anh district) is also named Thuong Temple. Inside it, there are An Duong Vuong's bronze statue (cast in 1897) and a big arbalest symbolizing the magic arbalest in the old days. In China's legend, Saint Tran Vu was a saint who had made many contributions in safeguarding the northern border. Quan Th¸nh Temple was built during the reign of King LưThai To (1010-1028). Special attention should be paid to the black bronze statue of Saint Tran Vu. Another object of no less significance is a smaller black bronze statue of Old Trong, a chief artisan of the bronze casting team who had made the giant statue of Saint Tran Vu and the great bell on top of the entrance.

Ngoc Son Temple

* Den Ngoc Son (Ngoc Son Temple) : Initially, the temple was called Ngoc Son Pagoda. Later, it was renamed as Ngoc Son Temple, because it was dedicated to the saints. Saint Van Xuong was a person considered the brightest star in Vietnam's literature and intellectual circles. Tran Hung Dao was worshipped because he was the national hero who led the Vietnamese people to a resounding victory over the Mongol aggression. The temple as it is seen today was attributable to the restoration efforts of Nguyen Van Sieu, a great Hanoian writer. He had a large pen-shaped tower (Thap But) built at the entrance to the temple

On the upper section of Thap But, there are three Chinese characters Ta Thanh Thien which mean literally that to write on the blue sky is to imply the height of a genuine and righteous person's determination and will. Behind Thap But is Dai Nghien (Ink Stand). The Ink Stand is carved from stone resembling a peach, which is placed on the back of three frogs on top of the gate to the temple. Passing through Dai Nghien, visitors will tread on the wooden bridge called The Huc. The Huc is literally understood as the place where beams of morning sunshine are touching.

Besides, Ha Noi has such attractions as Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Museum, History Museum, Revolution Museum, Army Museum, Fine Arts Museum, Palace of Friendship....

Festival Hai Ba Trung

Den Hai Ba Trung (Hai Ba Trung Temple) is also called Dong Nhan Temple, because it is located in Dong Nhan village, Hai Ba Trung precinct. Built in 1142 under the reign of King Lư Anh Ton, it is dedicated to the two Vietnamese heroines Trung Trac and Trung Nhi. On the 5th and 6th days of the lunar second month , there is a grand festival at this temple to commemorate the two national heroines.

West Lake

HoTay (West Lake) &Duong Thanh Nien (Youth Road) : Youth Road can be compared to a beautiful bridge spanning across the two large bodies of water - West Lake to the northwest and Truc Bach Lake to the southeast. Covering an area of nearly 500 hectares, Ho Tay was also called Dam Dam (Misty Pond), Lang Bac (White Waves)...

.Oral tradition has it that HoTay derived from a low-lying area upturned by a golden buffalo, so the stream derived from Ho Tay was named Song Kim Nguu (Golden Buffalo River). As for Truc Bach Lake, legend has it that in the old days, Truc Bach Lake was where lived the abandoned ladies-in-waiting who were forced to weave silk. Therefore, beautiful silk was called Truc Bach (Silk of the Truc village). As the biggest lake in the city, HoTay is surrounded by many areas reputed for their traditional occupations :Yen Phu and Nghi Tam (silkworm-breeding and silk-weaving villages in the past), Quang Ba, Nhat Tan (peach-growing village), Buoi (paper-making village). In Tay Son times, Nguyen Huy Luong wrote Tông Tay Ho Phó (Eulogy for West Lake) so as to highlight the landscapes of the West Lake and Nguyen Hue (future Quang Trung)'s glorious merits. Now, Ho Tay has been earmarked for the city's major tourism development center.

Hoan Kiem Lake

* Ho Hoan Kiem (Lake of Restored Sword) : The name of this lake is derived from a legend having it that a fisherman named LeThan caught a sword blade when drawing the fish-net. Than decided to offer it to his commanding general Le Loi (future Le Thai To). Afterwards, LeLoi found a hilt fitting that blade very well. This sword had always been on his side during 10 years of resistance against Ming aggressors. After winning over the foreign aggression, King Le Thai To returned to Thang Long Citadel .One day, aboard a royal boat, he took a cruise in the Luc Thuy lake. Suddenly, a giant turtle emerged and came towards him. The king withdrew his sword, and pinpointed with the sword the direction of the coming turtle for his soldiers' attention.

All of a sudden, the turtle caught the sword between its teeth from the king's hand and submerged. The king thought that during the resistance against Ming aggressors, the genius had offered him this sword to help him defeat the enemy. At that time, the peace was returning, and the genius appeared to take back the sword. Consequently, King Le Thai To decided to name the Luc Thuy lake Ho Hoan Kiem (Lake of Restored Sword). In the middle of the lake is Thap Rua (Turtle Tower). The lake abounds in big turtles aged five or six hundred. When there are the changes in weather, they often emerge or expose themselves at the foot of the Turtle Temple.


 
 
 


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