Being one of few ancient capitals left in the country, Hoa Lu will bring you back to the 10th century, during the Dinh and Le dynasties, to the 11th century during Ly dynasty before the King Ly Cong Uan moved the capital to Thang Long in 1010. Hoa Lu is located in Truong Yen commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh town which was the old capital for just 41 years of Vietnamese ancient kingdom called Dai Co Viet founded by King Dinh Tien Hoang.
Taking you 2 hours by bus or car from Hanoi to visit Hoa Lu, you will not only have fun and exiciting time but also can learn more about culture and history. Hoa Lu is surrounded by Trang An mountain and Hoang Long river, in total the mountain and river combined to make a Hoa Lu’s picturesque landscape. Moreover, the Trang An limestone mountain is natural wall protecting the citadel while the river which run through the capital, help cooling the weather within the city and serving as convenient waterways. As the capital of country for 41 years, Hoa Lu has many palaces, pagodas, tombs and pavilions that were built by different dynasties, however, today not much of this ancient kingdom is left standing.
The Royal Court was built in an area of 150 hectares in the eastern part of the capital while the western part served as a site to educate and protect children. The surrounding to be quite picturesque, with its ponds and limestone range forming a jagged horizon. Besides, when coming to Hoa Lu you have to visit two 17th century temples, modelled after their 11th-century. They are the Dinh Tien Hoang Temple and Le Hoan Temple, dedicated to the founder of the Dinh Dynasty and to its successor. The Temple of Dinh Emperor is located in the main palace with the impressive South Gate, a lotus pond, artificial hills, flower garden, inner triumphal arch, three sanctuaries and a back court. There are also many shapes of trees, animals, cloud, flowers and leaves that are carved out of stone and wood. The Le Temple is 500 meters away from the Dinh Temple. Although the Le Temple is smaller than the Dinh Temple, it has a quite mysterious atmosphere. It has three halls, including a sanctuary, an incense burner and main palace. Apart from these temples, you also can visit the Bao Thien Tue palace, which was plated with gold and silver, some beautiful pagodas like Ngan Xuyen pagoda, Nhat Tru pagoda.
Coming to Hoa Lu, not only visitors can visit historic places but also attend traditional cultural festivals here and the most important and largest one is Hoa Lu ancient capital festival. It is held annually on the 10th -13th of the third lunar month with the purpose of commemorating the two kings Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Dai Hanh. The festival includes two parts: Worshiping is water procession at Truong Yen water station located on Hoang Long river and worship at the King Dinh and King Le temples. Entertainment activities include performing “Co lau tap tran”, competing in writing Han script, playing chess, performing dragon dance, etc.
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