Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is the tourist destination which will bring you to a few imperial capitals of the country in the ancient and medieval eras. Visiting Hoa Lu, you will not only have a fun and exciting time but can learn more about culture and history as well.
Location and History
Hoa Lu is some 110 km or two hours from Hanoi. Located near the town of Ninh Binh, Hoa Lu is the site of a 10th-century capital of an ancient Vietnamese Kingdom called Dai Co Viet under the Dinh and Le dynasties bear with it a legend. Being the capital of the first fundamental Government of Vietnam, Hoa Lu witnessed many important historical events: the union of Vietnam after “12 Lords Rebellion”, the war with the Song dynasty, the defense against the ancient Cambodian, and the formation of Hanoi nowadays. With the total size of 13.87 square kilometers, Hoa Lu old capital is an attractive place that history lovers should not miss out.
The mountains and sea combined to make Hoa Lu’s picturesque landscape. Hoa Lu lays in a flat valley surrounded by the Trang An lime stone mountains, which form a natural wall protecting the old citadel. The city’s northwest is bordered by the Hoang Long River, the tributaries of which run through the capital, cooling the weather within the city and serving as convenient waterways.
Visiting Hoa Lu
First and foremost, attractions catching tourists ‘ eyes are temples, where people worship the Emperors and royal people that ruled here more than 1000 years ago: Dinh Tien Hoang Emperor temple, Le Dai Hanh Emperor temple, Phat Kim Princess temple (Phat Kim is a tragic fate daughter of Dinh Tien Hoang Emperor), and the newest one is Ly Thai To Emperor temple, which built in order to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Hanoi. Besides, Hoa Lu has the four sacred temples of Hoa Lu (Hoa Lu Tu Tran) to worship the Gods of four directions: Quy Minh temple, Thien Ton temple, Cao Son temple and Nguyen temple. Moreover, Hoa Lu also has its own One Pillar Pagoda like the One-Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi, but not to be confused with the one in Hanoi, Hoa Lu One-Pillar Pagoda has a Pillar full of phrase by Buddha in front of it, which stands there more than 1000 years. Along with these temples and pagodas, plenty of monuments, tombs, shrines worships many other famous people and Gods are attractive places as well.
Secondly, Hoa Lu still keeps the remaining of ancients fortress built by Dinh dynasty more than 1000 years ago. The Imperial place lays under the ground for 3m and now become a very interesting place to visit. Tourists will have the chance to see the old items used by the royal family in ancient time. The fortress outside is built based on the natural advantages: the mountain provides the good background, the deep valley is a basement, and the rivers supply water for people inside the fortress and would become traps to fight against the enemy in any case. This fortress is a very solid one that can defend against even the strongest enemy for months. On the other hand, inside the fortress is marvelous scenery for photo-taking and sight-seeing. In addition, the ancient town of Hoa Lu can easily capture tourists by its unique aspects.
The last but not least element that impresses visitors to Hoa Lu is the Festival Truong Yen, which is held on the 10th day of the third lunar month. The festival is in memory of the Kings of the Dinh and Le dynasties. The festival lasts for three days with many traditional games and martial arts, reflecting local residents’ legends.
How to get there
Hoa Lu can be a convenient stop on the way from Hue to Hanoi or if you are already in Hanoi, you can easily get a day tour from Hanoi to visit Hoa Lu from most travel agents in Hanoi. Such a tour usually includes a boat ride at Tam Coc as well.
Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is really an important cultural and historical site of great value in Vietnam!