Co Loa Ancient CitadelCo Loa Ancient Citadel hanoi

Location: This relic of an ancient urban area and military citadel is located in Co Loa Village, Dong Anh District, Hanoi. Characteristic: Throughout history, Co Loa was nominated twice as the capital of Vietnam: the first time during the An Duong Vuong era in the late 3rd and early 2nd century BC, and the second time during the Ngo Vuong Quyen reign in the middle of the 10th century.

This is perhaps the most ancient citadel in Vietnam, built by King An Duong Vuong between 214 and 208 BC to make it the capital of the Au Lac State (the name of Vietnam at that time). The citadel has the structure of an oyster shell with 3 turns: the exterior, the middle and the interior. Legends said that one night the white cocks badly damaged the citadel. The god of river knew the damage and mysteriously interfered by sending a holy tortoise to protect the citadel building. When the construction was completed, a magic bow was given to king An Duong Vuong to defeat the northern invaders from China.The Chinese King Trieu Da knew the story and planned to have his son, Prince Trong Thuy, marry Princess My Chau the daughter of King An Duong. Trong Thuy made use of the opportunity and stole this magic weapon. War happened shortly after that, the Vietnamese king lost. He, together with his daughter committed suicide. Commemorating the king and the princess with their good deeds, his people constructed a temple to worship them which still remains intact up to now. Visitors will also find the remains of the citadel and many vestiges here.The three ramparts archeological relics from the Bronze and Iron ages are 16km long. The complex of religious and commemorative relics includes Ngu Trieu Di Qui Communal House, My Chau Temple, and Bao Son Pagoda. Mystical relics such as Ngoc Well, Flag Tower, and Ngu Xa Castle make of this area a culturally and historically interesting area.

Hanoi cathedral

Hanoi Cathedral is at No.40 Nha Chung Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. It was built on the site of the former Bao Thien Tower, which was famous in the ancient capital of Thang Long under the Ly Dynasty (the 11th and 12th centuries).

Hanoi Cathedral, also known as Saint Joseph’s Cathedral, was inaugurated on Christmas Day 1886, two years after its construction. Its design is similar to the architecture of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Many catholic rituals have been held there. A ritual ceremony dedicated to Jesus Christ is held in this cathedral every year on March 19.

The special thing is that space around Hanoi Cathedral is an ideal meeting place for local residents in Hanoi, especially youngsters, to get away from the bustle and noise of the city. When it gets darker, groups of friends flock to the space to enjoy themselves. To enjoy this kind of entertainment, you can feast and drink with your friends in this open space. The bell striking from the church at meditative moments sways your mind. That is a great and romantic feeling. Young people have flocked to the cathedral because the church view and tranquil street corners will fuel their romantic liaison. Couples hand in hand show their love. Others regard it as a playground for chatting or a stage for music performances.

Many famous artists and movie stars can be seen in this special place. Pianist Pho An My has the habit of sitting in the church yard to enjoy a cup of tea with ice and play her favorite pieces. “It is not necessary to go to the theatre to enjoy a music concert; a pageant show will undoubtedly bring a wind of change to the audience”, said the famous artist.

Hanoi flag tower

Hanoi flag tower

Flag Tower is on Dien Bien Phu Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi; near Ba Dinh Square. Hanoi Flag Tower, also called Cot Co, is one of the rare architectural works in Hanoi that was fortunate enough to not be destroyed by the French administration between 1894 and 1897.

It was used by French troops as an observation tower and communication station between command headquarters and adjacent military posts.

It was built in 1812 and is composed of three platforms and a tower. The words Nghenh Huc, meaning “to welcome dawn’s sunlight,” are inscribed on the eastern door. The western door bears the two words Hoi Quang, meaning “to reflect light,” and the southern door, Huong Minh, meaning “directed to the sunlight.”

The tower receives sunlight through 36 flower-shaped and six fan-shaped windows.

Vietnam Military History Museum in HanoiHanoi Military Museum

Hanoi, situated in the delta of the Red River and enveloped by various lakes is the, the capital city of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The word Hanoi means river interior and established in 1010 A.D, Hanoi for many centuries served as the capital of various Vietnamese dynasties. Hanoi consisting of eight inner districts and five outer districts is the political, cultural, economic as well as the technological centre of the whole country. The city of Hanoi still vividly bears the marks of French colonial architecture and cherishing life in this picturesque city gives a nostalgic reminder of the old world charm of the European villages.

The rich heritage of Vietnam and its capital, Hanoi is best reflected through the six national museums. Army Museum in Hanoi occupies a special poignant position among the six national museums as it depicts the war history of Vietnam and embodies the armed struggle of the Vietnamese people.

Features of Army Museum in Hanoi

Army Museum in Hanoi spread on an area of10.000 square meter was founded on Dec, 22nd 1959.
Army Museum in Hanoi offers a vivid and fascinating history of the Vietnam War under the leadership of Vietnam’s communist party and of president Ho Chi Minh.

Hanoi flag Tower, a national historic cultural monument, shares the adjoining ground with the Army Museum in Hanoi. The construction of 31 meter high Hanoi flag Tower got completed in 1812.
The history of Vietnam’s struggle for peace, independence and freedom of the nation is best captured in the thousands of exhibits displayed in the Army Museum in Hanoi.

The exhibits of Army Museum in Hanoi primarily comprises of maps, scale models, military weapons and personal belongings of individuals associated with war the best part of the museum is that all the displayed items are accompanied by English translations.

Army Museum in Hanoi displays a wide collection of military waste including a Mig fighter, anti aircraft missiles, tanks, and remarkable heap of wreckage from a US B52 bomber and French prop driven plane that were both blast in the Hanoi area and the tank that explode through the gates in Saigon during the battle for liberation.

President Ho Chi Minh MuseumHo Chi Minh Mausoleum

The Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi is a dedicated museum. It was built in memory of a great man whose name is written in golden alphabets in the history of Vietnam. The special person was a great revolutionary and statesman and went on to become first the Prime Minister and then the President of North Vietnam. The great man was none other than Ho Chi Minh. The common people of Vietnam are indebted to him for what he has done for his country and as a mark of their gratitude the museum was dedicated to him apart from a city and a mausoleum which also shares his name

The Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi is the preserver of everything memorable related to the great revolutionist, Ho Chi Minh. The Museum consists of five extensive floors and was inaugurated on 2nd September, 1990, celebra

One Pillar PagodaOne Pillar Pagoda

Legend has it that the One Pillar Pagoda was built in 1049 after a dream of King Lý Thái Tông. The historians of the Đại Việt Kingdom wrote: “King Lê Thái Tông dreamed of being led to a lotus lamp by Avalokitesvara. He told his mandarins about this dream and some of them thought it was a bad omen. The King was advised by a monk to build a pagoda with a stone pillar in the middle and a lotus lamp above like in his dream, and to ask the monks to recite the Buddhist sutras. This is why the pagoda was called Diên Hựu.

The pagoda was built in a square, three meters long on each side, and it has a curved roof. It was built on a stone pillar of 1.20m in diameter and 4m high which is actually two overlapping posts skillfully joined as one. The upper storey is a system of several pieces of wood which make up the solid frame supporting the main part to resemble a lotus rising from a small square lake with a brick handrail. Visitors can climb up the beautiful stairs to see the statue of the Avalokitesvara and the words “Liên Hoa Đài” (the Lotus Lamp) to remind them of the king’s dream that inspired the pagoda.
During its long history, the One Pillar Pagoda has experienced a number of changes each time it was repaired, especially in 1249 in the Trần Dynasty when it was almost totally rebuilt. It was also repaired many times in the Lê Dynasty, and its lotus lamp and stone pillar have been made smaller.

In 1426, when the Ming invaders in Đông Quan (an ancient name of Thăng Long) were surrounded, they destroyed the bell along with the bronze parts of the Báo Thiên Tower near Hoàn Kiếm Lake in order to cast bullets. After the French invaders were defeated and driven away in 1954, they set off an explosion to destroy the pagoda. The government has since rebuilt the pagoda following the design from the Nguyễn Dynasty.

The pagoda holds three statues wearing flat hats rather like mortarboards – “Brahmanism, they govern heaven, but today are transformed into kings, one responsible for births, the order for deaths”, explains my friend. Behind the three “kings” and those lining the walls – there are ten Kings of Hell (a hell to fit each crime) – is a busily carved, open work gilt, nine-dragon altar to Sakyanumi as a baby.

“The nine dragons supplied water at his birth, after which he took seven steps, saying, “there is only one Buddha – Buddha is everywhere around us, in heaven and in human beings.”
The temple to the left of the courtyard, holding a large statue of a monk, is dedicated to “resident monk patriots and the cult of the Holy Mothers”, who joined the assemblage of religious personages occupying Vietnamese temples from Taoism.

Tran Quoc PagodaTran Quoc Pagoda

During your supposed time in Hanoi, it is highly suggested that the beautiful Tran Quoc pagoda – the oldest one among others in Hanoi, be added to your visiting list.

Chùa Trấn Quốc (or Tran Quoc Pagoda) is located beside the dazzling West Lake, on Thanh Nien Road, Hanoi. Particularly, it is seated on an island linked by a bridge to the causeway between the two most romantic lakes of Hanoi: West Lake and Truc Bach Lake.

The construction of the pagoda started in 541 and was completed in 545 under the reign of King Ly Nam De (544-548) under its original name of Khai Quoc (National Founder). It was initially built on the bank of the Red River (then West Lake and the Red River met).

Until the early 17th century, under the reign of King Le Kinh Tong (1600-1618), the pagoda was moved to the Kim Ngu (Golden Fish) Islet due to the river bank crumbling and was renamed Tran Quoc (National Defence).

A cultural symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism – intricate architecture
You might ask yourself why among a number of beautiful pagodas in Hanoi, Tran Quoc should be visited. The reason derives from the fact that it is considered a cultural symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism partly for it is the oldest pagoda and situated in the center of the capital of Vietnam. More importantly, unlike other ordinary pagodas, Tran Quoc Pagoda was built in a very intricate way. Behind the worshipping shrine is the Buddhist trinity followed by corridors, ten shrines and the belfry. Inside the pagoda, there are many valuable statues, such as the red lac statue trimmed with gold of Sakyamouni Buddha’s Parinirvana, which is a masterpiece of Vietnamese sculptural art, and lots of ancient stele, one of which was made in 1639 by Doctoral lau- Nguyen Xuan Chinh, recording the Pagoda’s history.

No one who has visited this significant pagoda of Hanoi does not take interest in its special and intricate style of architecture dated centuries ago. Please come here to feel it yourself!

It must be said that the island and pagoda provide a beautiful backdrop, particularly when viewed at sunset. Standing at one end of Thanh Nien Road, one can see the towers of the pagoda rising above the lake’s surface. In the pagoda’s garden stands a Bồ Đề (Bodhi) tree, which is attached to a past story. The story tells that in 1959, on his visit to Vietnam, Indian Prime Minister Razendia Prasat offered the Pagoda a bodhi tree as a gift. The plant was grafted from the holy bodhi tree where Sakyamuni sat in zen (meditation) position and achieved enlightenment in India 25 centuries ago. Now the bodhi tree is easily recognizable from its heart-shaped leaves, taken from a cutting of its original tree. Today, the tree green and luxuriant, shading over part of the pagoda’s yard.

These days, Tran Quoc Pagoda, as a religious relic with a spectacular ­surrounding scenery, is a favourite stop-over of so many foreign visitors and pilgrims.

Quan Thanh Templequan thanh temple

Quan Thanh Temple, formerly known as Tran Vu Temple, is a Taoist temple in Hanoi, Vietnam. Dated to the 11th century, the temple was dedicated to Xuan Wu, or Trấn Vũ in Vietnamese, one of the principal deities in Taoism. As one of the Four Sacred Temples of the capital, Quan Thanh Temple is located near West Lake in a ward of same name, Quan Thanh Ward, and is one of the leading tourist attractions in Hanoi.

Legend has it that Quan Thanh Temple was established during the reign of Emperor Lý Thái Tổ (1010–1028) and was dedicated to Tran Vu, Deity of the North in Taoism, whose symbols of power are the serpent and turtle. It is one of the Four Sacred Temples that were built in four directions to protect the capital from malevolent spirits. In Hanoi, there is also a second TranVu Temple in Gia Lam district. Although smaller than Quan Thanh Temple, Tran Vu Temple is also dedicated to Tran Vu with a 9-tonne statue of the deity. Considered a masterpiece of Vietnamese bronze casting and sculpture, it is the second biggest bronze statue in Vietnam.
Nowadays, after many geographical changes to the city layout, Quan Thanh Temple is located on the corner of Quan Thanh Street and Thanh Nien Street, facing West Lake. It is a short walk from Truc Bach Lake where pilot and future United States senator John McCain was shot down in October 1967.

During its long history, Quan Thanh Temple has been renovated several times, most recently in 1893 when the principal gate and the shrine were redone, so the architecture is a mixture of the many different styles of the imperial era. The main features of Quan Thanh Temple are a large yard shaded by a giant banyan tree and a shrine that contains the famous bronze statue of Tran Vu built in 1677.

In 1677 during the reign of King Lê Huy Tông, artisans from the nearby village of Ngũ Xã offered Quan Thanh Temple a very large statue of Tran Vu in black bronze, which remains today. This statue is measured 3.96 metres (13.0 ft) in height, weights around 3,600 kilograms (7,900 lb) and depicts Tran Vu as a deity with his two symbolic animals, the serpent and the turtle. This artwork is evidence of the advanced technical standard of bronze casting and sculpture of Vietnamese artisans in the 17th century. Cast at the same time as Tran Vu’s statue was a 1.15 metres (3.8 ft) bronze bell. Those were creations of a master craftsman named Trùm Trọng, who had his own statue in Quan Thanh Temple placed alongside the Tran Vu statue. Beside the statues of Tran Vu and Trum Trong, the main shrine also has a valuable collection of ancient texts such as poems or duilians which date from the 17th and 18th century. After each restoration, a stele was often kept in temple for the record; the oldest one dated from 1677 while the latest was made by Viceroy Hoàng Cao Khải in 1894 during the reign of Thành Thái Emperor during the French colonial era.

By tradition, Hanoians often come to Quan Thanh Temple on the occasion of Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) or the first and fifteenth of each lunar month (new and full moon respectively) to worship and pray for health, luck and happiness for them and their relatives.
With its history and architecture, Quan Thanh Temple is one of the tourist attractions in Hanoi. It is also a training venue for several traditional martial art classes including Vovinam.

Temple of LiteratureTemple of Literature

The very first stop-over of any foreign tourist in Hanoi is always Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam (translated as Temple of Literature), which reveals the Hanoians’ spirit of study in the past!

Situated at the south of Thang Long citadel, is on top of the historical and beautiful sightseeings of the beautiful capital of Vietnam. Please follow us in a brief tour of exploring his beauty and deep values;

Tourists, particularly the foreign ones, now flock to the site for taking a look into its profound traditional meanings of both a Confucion temple and the first university of Vietnam. Văn Miếu or Temple of Literature, known as “pagode des Corbeaux” during the period of French colonisation, was founded as a Confucian temple in 1070.

Only parts of the Văn Miếu complex date back to the earliest period, although much of the architecture dates to the Ly (1010 – 1225) and Tran (1225 – 1400) Dynasties. In 1076, Vietnam’s first university, the Quốc Tử Giám (or National University), was established within this temple to educate Vietnam’s mandarin class. The university functioned for more than 700 years, from 1076 to 1779, during which, 2,313 doctors graduated. Hence, the complex has been attached to the name of Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam up to now.

This ancient Confucian sanctuary is now considered one of Hanoi’s finest historical and cultural sites. “The ever special architetural style of Van Mieu dates back to the 11th century, evoking an inspiration of classical creativeness of many of us”, one of my tourists remarked. Just take a look into the art of architecture, you will share the feeling! The temple is based on Confucius’ birthplace at Qufu in the Chinese province of Shandong. It consists of five courtyards lined out in order, entrance to the first, via the impressive twin-tiered Van Mieu gate leads to three pathways that run through the length of the complex. The centre path was reserved for the King only, the one to its left for administrative Mandarins and the one to its right for military Mandarins.

The first two courtyards are peaceful havens of ancient trees and well-trimmed lawns where the scholars could relax away from the bustle of the city outside the thick stone walls. Entrance to the third courtyard is through the dominating Khue Van Cac (constellation of literature), a large pavilion built in 1802. Central to the this courtyard is the Thien Quang Tinh (“Well Of Heavenly Clarity”), either side of which stand two great halls which house the true treasures of the temple. These are 82 stone steles. Another 34 are believed to have been lost over the years. They sit upon stone tortoises and are inscribed with the names and birth places of 1306 men who were awarded doctorates from the triennial examinations held here at the Quoc Tu Giam (“National University”) between 1484 and 1780, when the capital was moved to Hue.
The fourth courtyard is bordered on either side by great pavilions which once contained altersl of 72 of Confucius greatest students but which now contain offices, a gift shop and a small museum which contains ink wells, pens, books and personal artifacts belonging to some of the students that have studied here through the years. At the far end of the courtyard is the altar with statues of Confucius and his four closest disciples. The fifth courtyard contained the Quoc Tu Giam, Vietnam’s first university founded in 1076 King Ly Can Duc, but this was destroyed by French bombing in 1947.

Though having gone through lots of restoration work, the temple still retains its very first original shape, to be one of the visit-worthy sightseeings of Hanoi, captivating to a huge number of tourists elsewhere.

A space of peace, green trees and solemnity covers the whole temple of historical and traditional love for study, making tourists feel like they were lost in a land of Confucion and traditional values. If you are in Hanoi, you should really come and explore it yourself!

Being an ancient school of Thang Long and the first university in Vietnam, Temple of Literature is acknowledged as an ancient historical-cultural heritage which gives tourists deeper understanding about Hanoi’s years of culture and tradition. Tourists should definitely add the Temple of Literature to their visiting list in Hanoi. It is included in a lot of Hanoi city tours as one of the main attractions in this bustling capital city. Coming here, tourists might see many Vietnamese students visiting the places as a ritual for good luck before they enter an important exam such as the entrance exam into college.

Museum of Ethnologyvietnam Museum of Ethnology

Located west of the city center, the Bao Tang Dan Toc Hoc or the museum of ethnology offers informative and well documented displays on the country’s many ethnic groups.

These range from the dominant Kinh to the smallest minorities in the highlands of the north and center. Exhibits in the main building include the elaborate and colorfull hill-tribe costumes, weaving designs, musical instruments, fishing implements, work tools, and other functional objects. The displays continue on to the extensive grounds outside, with fascinating examples of minority housing from the Central Highlands, such as communal houses, steep pitched roofs, and elaborately carved tombs. A highlight here is the re-creation of a Black Thai house.

The museum also serves as a research center for Vietnam’s 54 recognized ethnic groups.

What does it have? Since the opening day, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology has attracted a huge number of visitors as well as ethnographers and researchers from all over the world. To date, the Museum has collected 15,000 artifacts, 2,190 slides, 42,000 photographs, 237 audiotapes, 373 videotapes and 25 CD-ROMs, to be displayed for all visitors. Besides a tourism spot, it is also a centre for ethnographic research employing many experts on the different ethnic groups. Coming here, visitors may find out that the Museum has successfully recreated the daily life together with the religious rituals and the symbolic festivals of each ethnic group in Vietnam. All displayed objects mingle and supplement one another to create a colorful and diversified picture of Vietnamese culture.