Today, we will go to one of other Vietnam Popular Destinations inside Hanoi Capital. A beautiful basket of flowers, a mirror-like green lake, a place of love, etc. are converged in Sword Lake – the core of Hanoi. Hồ Hoàn Kiếm (or Lake of the Restored Sword) was once part of the Red river. Throughout thousands of years of geographical changes, the lake moved eastward to its present position kilometers from the river.
Before the famous historical legend of King Le Loi here, Lake Sword used to be called Luc Thuy Lake (or Green Water Lake) since the water was green all the year round. In 15th century, it was named Sword Lake after the legend of Emperor Le Thai To, which is somehow similar to the story of King Arthur and the Lady of the Lake’s.
Now please close your eyes and turn back time to the Lê Dynasty 6 centuries ago to witness the legendary story of one of Vietnam Popular Destinations. During the war against the Minh aggressors, Lê Thái Tổ King was given a precious fairy Sword by the Golden Turtle God. After 10 years of continuous struggling, the King finally defeated the Chinese and reclaimed the nation’s independence. After that, on a nice day, while boating on Lục Thủy Lake, a large turtle came towards him.
It immediately grabbed the sword with its mouth and submerged. The king mourned the loss of such a valuable sword, yet could not find either the turtle or the sword. He realized that the God must have lent him the sword to drive back the enemy, but then that his nation was free, the sword must be returned. Hence, King Lê Thái Tổ name the Sword Lake or Lake of the Restore Sword after this episode.
Since the reign of King Le Trung Hung (XVI century), every King in the Lê dynasty, and Lord Trịnh have all contributed to the beauty of the lake. Lord Trịnh Giang built Khanh Thuy shrine on Ngoc Island on the north end of the lake. He also had the two man made hills built across from Ngoc son Shrine. At the end of the Le Dynasty, Khanh Thuy was toppled by Chieu Thong. A philanthropist named Tin Trai built Ngoc Son pagoda, which was renamed into Ngọc Sơn shrine during the reign of Thieu Tri III (1843) as it was no longer a Buddhist shrine. Instead, it became a shrine of Van Xuong, a deity, in charge of literature and the various tests required to become a Mandarin. It has also been a shrine of General Trần Hưng Đạo, a national Hero who secured numerous victories against the Mongols.
Hence, Sword Lake is now situated inside a complex of Ngọc Sơn Temple, The Huc Bridge, and Pen Tower in the surroundings, making a sparkling colorful natural picture. They are also Vietnam Popular Destinations. Ngoc Son has undergone a lot of renovations, one among which was the addition of Pen Tower on its hill, which was once called Dao Tai. Three words were inscribed on the tower: “Ta Thien Thanh” or “write on blue sky”. Inside the gate a pool resembling the shape of an ink well was added. Beyond the ink well is The Huc Bridge, which means “where the sun light is absorbed”. The bridge leads to Dac Nguyet Lau (or “Moon Light tower”) – Ngoc Son shrine. Beyond the gates to the shrine, there are two walls called bang Rong and bang Ho (dragon and tiger slate), where the names of those who passed the national test were inscribed.
What could not be missed in this beautiful complex is the Turtle Tower, which lies in the middle of the Lake, so as to remind Vietnamese people of the Turtle God of his great assistance. It was told that King Lê Thánh Tông used to fish here. Lord Trịnh also built the structure to house his entourage while visiting the lake.
To sum up, despite the time’s ashes and dust, Sword Lake – the popular historical and legendary beauty-spot is eternal for good as an evidence of a fairy and heroic Hanoi during the past wars, and a romantic and charming Hanoi of Today. It is the end of trip visiting one of Vietnam Popular Destinations. Hope you love it and Have a nice trip with family and friends in my beautiful country.
From EZ Vietnamese Cuisine Team.