Hanoi, the bustling capital of Vietnam, is a city steeped in history and tradition. Amidst its vibrant streets and energetic atmosphere lies an oasis of calm and a legendary tale – Hoan Kiem Lake. In this article, we invite you to explore the serene beauty and fascinating legend of Hoan Kiem Lake.
A Serene Oasis in Hanoi Nestled in the heart of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake, also known as “Lake of the Returned Sword,” offers a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. The moment you set foot near its tranquil waters, you’ll feel a sense of calm washing over you. The lake, covering approximately 12 hectares, is surrounded by tree-lined promenades, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll. The Legend of the Sword and the Turtle The legend of Hoan Kiem Lake is one of Vietnam’s most cherished tales. It revolves around a magical sword and a sacred turtle. According to folklore, in the 15th century, Emperor Le Loi received a divine sword, which he used to defeat Chinese invaders and establish Vietnamese independence. After the victory, while boating on the lake, a giant turtle surfaced and reclaimed the sword, returning it to the gods. This event symbolized peace, and the lake was renamed Hoan Kiem Lake to commemorate the legendary act. The Iconic Turtle Tower and Ngoc Son Temple In the heart of the lake stands Turtle Tower (Thap Rua), a picturesque red tower perched atop a small island. The tower serves as a reminder of the mythical turtle and adds a touch of grandeur to the lake’s landscape. Connected to the shore by the striking Huc Bridge, you’ll find Jade Island, home to Ngoc Son Temple (Temple of the Jade Mountain). The temple is dedicated to the memory of national heroes and features beautiful altars, ancient artifacts, and intricate carvings. It’s a place to pay respects to those who fought for Vietnam’s independence. Strolling Around the Lake One of the most enjoyable activities around Hoan Kiem Lake is simply taking a leisurely stroll. The shaded promenade offers a respite from the sun and a chance to observe daily life in Hanoi. You’ll often spot locals practicing tai chi or jogging, couples enjoying romantic moments, and families picnicking by the water’s edge. The Rare Sightings of Cu Rua The legendary turtle of Hoan Kiem Lake, affectionately known as “Cu Rua,” is a rare and elusive creature. It’s said to be a symbol of luck and longevity in Vietnamese culture. While sightings are infrequent, the mere possibility of encountering this revered creature adds an air of mystique to the lake. Hoan Kiem Lake is more than a beautiful body of water; it’s a symbol of Hanoi’s history and the enduring spirit of Vietnam. Whether you’re captivated by its mythical origins, its peaceful ambiance, or its cultural significance, a visit to this iconic landmark is a must during your journey through Hanoi. It’s a place where legends come to life, and where the past seamlessly blends with the present, offering a glimpse into the soul of Vietnam’s capital city.