Hoan Kiem Lake is the first thing to come to people' mind when mentioning Hanoi. Hoan Kiem Lake is regarded as the heart of Hanoi, and this lake has been through the long history with people here. Although Hanoi is a bustling, noisy city, Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi Old Quarter is still a place people go to in order to find out the peace in their mind.
Historically, the lake is part of Hồng River, the main river as the water supply source of the capital. Through the change in architecture and layout of the capital, the water line is separated, and the lake is formed in two divided lakes, Tả Vọng, and Hữu Vọng lake. In the French invasion, Hữu Vọng lake is blocked, while the other lake remained.
It is not until the 15th century when Tả Vọng lake has the updated name, as Hồ Hoàn Kiếm (Returned Sword Lake) or more common name Hồ Gươm (Sword Lake), with the legend after the victory over the Ming Dynasty intruders.
Hoan Kiem lake is an old complex, consists of 5 different architecture
the ancient site that holds the story and the value of the old time, which is treasured till the modern days. Moreover, the lake is a familiar place for the Hanoian at all ages, coming for activities all the days.
Keep walking around the lake, the first thing you will see is Turtle tower.
was built in 1886, and now commemorates Le Loi, a warrior during the Ming invasion time.
It was said that, in the French Colonists time, there was a small replica of Liberty Statue brought from France. However, it was taken away
Another thing that you can easily find is The Huc Bridge.
is the bridge connecting the temple to the shore and dominated by the bright red color. The redness stands for the cultural belief of luck and happiness of the Vietnamese, also contributes to the name of the bridge, meaning the Morning Sunlight Bridge.
Vietnamese primary students usually describe The Huc in an adorable way which compares it with a shrimp.
also known as the Temple of Jade Mountain, located in the Jade Island of the lake. It is now dedicated to Tran Hung Dao, a reputed Vietnamese general in the 13th century, scholar Văn Xương and Nguyễn Văn Siêu, a Confucian master.
The present architecture reflects the Chinese style favored by the Nguyen dynasty at the time. The design of the lake, surrounded by the green water, directs the energy towards the pagoda.
Located at the heart of the city, Hoàn Kiếm Lake has been part of the daily life of people who live around the lake and also the Hanoian around the city for decades. Therefore, the lake is always crowded with many people and never seemed to get bored for the chains of activities happened all days.
>>> See more: Things to do in Hanoi
In the early morning
many people, mostly the old, come to the lake and practice Tai Chi. The youths come here to run around the lake as a morning exercise.
In the afternoon
young students come to Hoàn Kiếm Lake to hang out and relax, sometimes to make friends with international tourists and introduce with them about Hanoi.
At the night
the old often gather at the lake to do some late-night exercise, whereas the young couple often come here to have some date
In the weekends
the road around the lake is blocked from traffic and become a walking street for pedestrians. Many traditional games and live music are performed, promise to be an interesting site for visitors.