Hoan Kiem Lake - witnesser of Vietnam - Ha Noi Free Private Tour Guide
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Hoan Kiem Lake – Witness history of Vietnam

Hoan Kiem lake is also known as the center historical place of Hanoi witnessing the growth of Vietnam throughout the country’s history. Now, Hoan Kiem lake attracts the attention of Tourists rising everyday by its special role and atmosphere there. So, let’s find out about this mythical land.  

Hoan Kiem Lake

1. What is Hoan Kiem lake? 

Located right in the center of the capital of Vietnam, Hoan Kiem Lake Hanoi is famous for its peaceful beauty, and its cultural as well as historical values.

In the past, the lake was variously named “Lục Thủy Lake” (meaning “Green Water Lake” – aptly named for the water’s color) or “Thủy Quân Lake”. The lake is one of the major scenic spots in the city and serves as a focal point for its public life.

Many beautiful words are used to describe the beauty of the lake such as picturesque, magnificent, dreamy, mysterious,… Its unique beauty attracts a lot of tourists each year, not only Vietnamese but also many foreigners. That’s why Hoan Kiem lake is always one of the top choices when choosing the places to visit in Hanoi.

2. History of Hoan Kiem Lake 

Returning Sword

Hoan Kiem lake, also known as “ Sword Lake, ” is a brackish lake in the center of Hanoi. The legend about the name of the lake is known by all the Vietnamese people. Since they were small, they all learned about the story in their academy about the most heroes, a giant turtle, and a magic sword. 

According to the legend, after having defeated Ming China, in early 1428, Emperor Le Loi was voyaging on the lake when a Golden Turtle God (Kim Qui) surfaced and asked for his magic brand, Heaven’s Will. King Le Loi concluded that Kim Qui had come to reclaim the brand that its master, a original God, the Dragon King had given Lợi some time before to master Ming China. Later, the Emperor gave the brand back to the turtle after he finished fighting off the Chinese. Emperor Lợi renamed the lake to commemorate this event, from its former name Luc Thuy meaning” Green Water”. The Turtle Tower( Tháp Rùa) standing on a small islet near the center of the lake is linked to the legend. The first name of Hoan Kiem lake is Tả Vọng, when the King had not given the Magical Sword back to the Golden Turtle God (Cụ Rùa).

3. Historical place in Hoan Kiem Lake

Turtle temple on the center of Hoan Kiem Lake 

Turtle palace is a significant corner in the center of Hoan Kiem lake. Standing for nearly 150 times, it used to be a sleeping place when the King went fishing and now the pride of the people of Hanoi.

Hoan Kiem Lake - Turtle temple at night

Ngoc Son temple – sacred place of Hoan Kiem Lake 

Ngoc Son temple

Ngoc Son Temple is located on an islet right in the heart of Hoan Kiem Lake. Erected in the 19th century, this tabernacle was firstly devoted to Guan Yu( a notorious Chinese general) to suppress mischance. It was turned into an abbey to worship Buddha, and eventually restored into the tabernacle as its moment.

Going outside, you’ll see 2 main tabernacle structures. They feature the architectural style of tabernacles in the Northern region of Vietnam. In the 2 tabernacle structures are 2 large statues. The statue of Tran Deity is placed on a gravestone pedestal of further than 1 cadence high. The statue of Van Xuong Deity holds an encounter in his hand with a relaxed station.

The Huc bridge 

In 1865, during the reign of Tự Đức, the scholar Nguyễn Văn Siêu commissioned a bridge connecting the bank of the river with the Temple of the Jade Mountain (Vietnamese: Đền Ngọc Sơn). He named it “Thê Húc” (meaning “a drop of light rests” or “Condensation of aura”). 

The bridge has undergone full reconstruction twice since it was first built. The first time was in 1897 during the reign of Thành Thái. The second time was initiated in 1952 under then-mayor Thẩm Hoàng Tín after the bridge collapsed on New Year’s Eve due to an overabundance of visitors to Temple of the Jade Mountain. 

Temple of King Le 

The Temple of King Le Thai To, located in an architectural complex at No. 16, Le Thai To street (Hang Trong ward, Hoan Kiem district), has one of the oldest monuments in Hanoi. The statue of King Le and the memorial architectural complex were constructed in 1894. It is commemorated the king’s merits for defeating the enemy and to mark the legend of returning the magical sword to the turtle deity at Hoan Kiem Lake.

The complex includes 3 main structures: the entrance, the communal house and the monument. The entrance was built with bricks in the style of three doors – four pillars and is close to the sidewalk. The communal house is open on four sides. The 1.2-meter-high bronze statue is placed on top of a stone pillar, holding a sword like he is about to return the sword to the lake.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theater 

Water puppetry is a traditional art form in Vietnam. Performers will use puppets to act on the water. While normal puppetry is available in many countries around the world, water puppetry can only be found in Vietnam. 

hoan kiem lake

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