West Lake – the lake of different names

West Lake is the largest lake in the centre of Hanoi with the area of 500 ha. Located in the Northwest of the city, West Lake was created from a curved part of Red River and appeared in several Vietnamese legends, accordingly, it’s called in many different names such as: Fox Corpse Lake (“hồ Xác Cáo”), Golden Buffalo lake (“hồ Kim Ngưu”). In the period of Ly Tran Dynasty, people named it Foggy Lake (“Đầm Đàm”), and its name was changed to West Lake in The Ly Dynasty (the 15 century)

West Lake is the landmark of the capital which had long been used as resorts for Kings and mardarins of many dynasties. There were many palaces built around the lake such as Thuy Hoa Palace in the Ly Dynasty, Ham Nguyen Palace in the Tran Dynasty (which is Tran Quoc Pagoda now), Tu Hoa Palace in the Ly Dynasty (which is Kim Lien Pagoda in Nghi Tam village at the moment), Ngoc Dam Palace in the Tran Dynasty…

The road covers around the lake is about 12 km which leads to the flower village of Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, the peach blossoom garden of Nhat Tan, and there are many famous commue house of village,temples and pagodas along the road

West Lake is now abundant with many gardens, hotels, restaurants and other entertainment centers.

Hanoi attractrion – Truc Bach Lake

Being one of welknown lakes in Hanoi, Truc Bach Lake has its own meaning of not only landmarks but also history

Formerly, Truc Bach Lake and West Lake joined to each other. Until 1620, it was separated from the West Lake by the construction of a narrow dike Co Ngu (now is Thanh Nien Road). In the 18 century, the Lord Trinh Giang had a palace constructed on the lake shore which first served as a pleasure palace but was later converted into a prison for royal concubines found guilty of crime who had to made silk to live themselves. The silk they produced, known as “Bamboo Village Silk”.

On the lake there’s a small hill-up on which a temple was built called Cau Nhi Temple (it’s no longer now).

On October 26, 1967, US Navy aviator John McCain was shot down and parachuted wounded into Truc Bach Lake, nearly drowning. He was dragged out of the water by city residents.

Quan Thanh Temple – one of the four sacred temples of the capital

As shown by three words at the top of principal gate of the temple, this should be “Chân Vũ Quán”. There was this name from the year of 1840, and before that time, it’s called ” Trấn Vũ Quán” while people usually name Quan Thanh Temple – considered as one of the four sacred temples of the capital.

This temple is the place of worship of  Saint Tran Vu who is an iconic combination between Vietnam legendary figure (a figure who helped King An Duong Vuong chase away demons during the construction of Co loa Citadel) and a Chinese figure (Guardian of the North of the Country).

Built during the reign of King Ly Thai To (1010-1028) and renovated many times to make it like what we can see nowadays, Quan Thanh Temple has a bronze stutue of Tran Vu casted in 1677 which is 3.96 metres high and about 4 tons in weight. The statue appears as a sitting Taoist hermit in good dress but loosen hair and without shoes or sandales,  the left hand passes magic and the right hand holds a sword.

There’s also a bronze bell casted at the same time with the statue which is about 1.5 metres high and hanged on at the guard gate.

Inside the temple, there’s also a smaller bronze statue of “Old Trong” who made the statue of Saint Tran Vu without any fee. His wish was that to be inoffically worshiped in the temple after dying, therefore, his students casted a statue of him to express their gratitude to the teacher.

Vietnam Museum of Revolution – place for those having a passion on museums

In December 1954, after two months turning back the capital, the Goverment Coucil decided to build the Revolution Museum which was inaugurated on January 6, 1959.

Located in the area of Tong Dan and Tran Quang Khai street, Vietnam Museum of Revolution was formerly the department of war invalids which then was redesigned into 29 galleries with more than 40,000 historical exhibits. It’s really a nice place for those having a special passion on museums.

The first gallery introduces about the country and people of Vietnam, and the last gallery is about the union relationship between Vietnam and other countries in the world. The remaining 27 rooms display exhibits on the struggle of Vietnamese people against French colonial and Japanese fascists, American imperialism from the mid-nineteenth century to the spring of 1975.

Here, there are precious collections such as: the collection of  objects of President Ho Chi Minh and other leaders, the collection of  books and newspapers of the Party which were published in the period of 1920-1945, the collection of flags including Party flag in 1930, “the red flag with a gold star” in 1941…, the collection of weapons.

Vietnam Museum of  Revolution displays the history of building and protecting the country from the beginning to the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Things you should know about Vietnam Fine Arts Museum

Located at 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc street, Vietnam Fine Arts Museum was found on June 24, 1966 with 10,000 works of art. This museum displays the below collections:

– Fine arts of ethnic people in all over the world

– Fine arts in prehistoric and ancient times

– Fine arts in feudal period (from the 11 to the 18 centuries)

– Sculptures of ancient Vietnam (the representative works from the 11 to the 19 centuries)

– Vietnam folk painting

– Vietnam pragmatic art and folk art decorations

– Vietnam modern industrial arts combining with traditional arts of nation

– Vietnam fine arts before the revolution of August 1945 (the early years of the 20th century)

– Vietnam fine arts in the period of against French colonial (from 1945 to 1954)

– Vietnam fine arts in period of building peace and fighting for national unification up to now (from 1964 till now)

Besides, the museum has collections arranged by materials and themes which were carefully choosen from many others and exhibited in many exhibitions such as Vietnam ancient stone sculptures, Vietnam fine arts in bronze period – early iron period, Vietnam ancient ceramic collections, fine arts of ethnic minorities, Vietnam folk paintings of the 16, 17, 18 centuries, lacquers, oil paintings, carvings, modern sculptures, statues of President Ho Chi Minh…

This museum can be considered as a museum that occupies the most important position in maintaining and promoting the treasures of Vietnamese cultural and artistic heritage

The opening time of museum is from 8.30 am to 17.00 pm every day from Monday to Sunday. The entrance fee is VND 30.000/adult and VND 10.000/child


Learn more with National Museum of Vietnamese History

Located at No. 1 Trang Tien Street, National Museum of Vietnamese History was formally an institute “École française d’Extrême-Orient” – French School of the Far East which founded in 1932 by French. At that time, only strange-looking antiques collected from Southeast Asia countries were on display here but there were few from Vietnam which did not tell us much about Vietnamese history.

In 1958, the Vietnam Government officially took over this cultural building and started to research, collect and supplement materials and objects, converting the contents from eastern arts into national history. With an exhibition area of over 2,200 square meters and nearly 7,000 original artifacts, the main exhibition system is arranged chronologically. There are many antiques in stone for working and fighting such as stone axe dating 400 thousand years ago found in Do mountain (Thanh Hoa province) improved that Vietnam was one of ancient cradles of humanity.

Bronze artefacts are various with many kinds of drums, axes, knives, weapons which dated according to the time of the Hung Kings. There are also arrows found in Co Loa dating 2nd century BC scared the invaders from the North called fabulous arrows.

Also photos of communal houses, temples, palaces, documents as well as original artifacts such as wooden poles Bach Dang River, the maps, the maquettes of the resistance war against the Sung, Yuan, Ming, Qing … are presented here to tell visitors about Vietnamese’s heroic history.

In conclusion, National Museum of Vietnamese History has become a big cultural and scientific centre of the country which helps people throughout the country and international visitors learn more about Vietnamese nation’s history.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – A must-see destination in Hanoi

When you are in Hanoi, Vietnam, one destination you should not miss is Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was inaugurated on August 29, 1975. This construction work officially started on September 2, 1973 in the centre of Ba Dinh Square, designed by Vietnamese and Soviet Union architects.

The mausoleum is 21.6 metres high and features a three-stored structure. The first store was built as the shape of perron used to be as a platform for the Presidium on meetings. The second store is the main structure of the tomb including corpse room, corridors, stairs. The third is the roof of the tomb which was built as the shape of perron as well. At the main side of the tomb, there are words: Chủ tịch Hồ Chí Minh (Chairman Ho Chi Minh) in red plum marble inscribed across the mausoleum’s portico.

Entering the central hall, we can see the Uncle Ho’s body’s preserved in a glass coffin decorated around with Party flag and National flag, lying as if he were sleeping in the simple clothes worn when he was alive.

The Mausoleum is a significant cultural architecture which was built by materials collected from different regions in all over the country such as specious stone and wood as well as different kinds of tree and flower to decorate arround the building.

Everyday, there are many Vietnamese people and foreign visitors visiting Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. And you should take note these things to have a perfect visit:

–  Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum opening hours is from 8 am to 11 am on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thurday, Saturday and Sunday. Last entry is at 10.15 am. Every year, it will be closed in 2 months (October and November) for anual body maintenance.

– You should dress modestly and keep silient during the visit to express your respectation. Hats should be taken off and camera or cell phone is not permited.

– You should queue up and waiting to enter, so,  you’d better go early.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum can be considered as the largest monument of the 20th century for Vietnamese and is really a must-see destination for all visitors when they are in Hanoi.

How’s Ba Dinh Square set up?

Hanoi is the heart of Vietnam and Ba Dinh Square can be said to be the heart of Hanoi. All of important events of capital as well as country took place here. So how’s Ba Dinh Square set up or what’s its history?

Formally, this place belonged to the West gate area of Hanoi Citadel. At the begining of French colonial period, the citadel was destroyed and made as a small flower garden called “circle point” by colonials. Later on in 1945, it’s renamed as Ba Dinh flower garden to memorize the breakout of first Vietnam war against France in Ba Dinh, Thanh Hoa province that occurred from September 1886 to January 1887.

On September 2, 1945, half a million people from Hanoi and neighboring areas came to Ba Đinh Square to attend the Independence Day.

At 14.00 pm, all members of interim Goverment were on the ceremony stage which had been well-decorated. After the Flag Ceremony, President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence giving birth to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Then, the interior minister – Vo Nguyen Giap presented the situation of country and goverment policy. Minister of propaganda Tran Huy Lieu reported the deprivation of seal and sword which symbolized for the power of Nguyen Dynasty in Hue. The representative of  Viet Minh goverment, Nguyen Luong Bang talked about the struggle and called on people to unite and put ups revolutionary process. Finally, the meeting became a mass parade on streets.

On September 9, 1969 – 6 days after the dissolution of  President  Ho Chi Minh – also at Ba Dinh Square, a mourning service for President Ho Chi Minh was held with thousands of Vietnamese people and foreign friends attending.

Ba Dinh Square is 320 meters in length and 100 meters in width covers 168 grass squares. It can contain about 20000 people and it is a place for gatherings or festival activities. At the centre of the square is a 30-meter high flag pillar.

Ba Dinh Square has been become a sacred space of Hanoi