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Ha Noi



Kim Lien Pagoda :
The pagoda is located on a tip end of a narrow strip of land jutting to Ho Tay (West Lake). It is in Nghi Tam village on the bank of Ho Tay. Now the village is part of Quang An village in Tu Liem district. The pagoda is accessible only through a small earth path from the village. All the other directions are surrounded by the body of water in Ho Tay. The unique location of Kim Lien Pagada makes it look more serene. Visitors to the pagoda are given a rare chance to enjoy the tran quillity and pastoral solitude the place of sacred has to offer.
 Legend has it that in the 12th century princess Tu Hoa, daughter of King Ly Thanh Tong led her ladies-in-waiting to this area. Together they cultivated mulberry and reared silkworms to make silk. At later date a pagoda was built right on the site and by 1771 it was named Kim Lien (Golden Lotus). The architectural formation of the pagoda is made after the Chinese character three, that is the pagoda has three lines of houses. Each of the rooftop is divided into two layers to make it eighr folds in all.

President Ho Chi Minh's Residence :
Located in a large garden at the back of the Presidential Palace is a nice road covered with pebbles and bordered with mango trees that leads to a stilt house, Uncle Ho's residence and office from May 1958 until his death. The perfume of jasmine flowers and roses is omnipresent. At the back is a garden of fruit trees, where the luxuriant milk fruit tree donated to Uncle Ho by his southern compatriots in 1954 stands between two lines of Hai Hung orange trees. Other valuable trees belonging to more than 30 species supplied by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Forestry, and several provinces represent the wide variety of trees growing in Vietnam. There are also trees imported from foreign countries, such as Ngan Hoa trees, miniature rose bushes, areca trees from the Caribbean, Buddhist bamboo trees, etc. Dozens of varieties of orchid beautifully hang from the trees which blossom all year round.
Many people know the story of how Uncle Ho came to live in a small stilt-house rather than a grand palace. But it is worth retelling. Ho Chi Minh was never one for large houses and comfortable living. He was just 21 when, in 1911, he set out to travel "the five continents and the four oceans" to seek ways of saving his country. For 30 years he lived a nomadic life, changing addresses constantly. When he came back to Viet Nam in 1941, he led the revolution against colonial rule and read the country’s historic Declaration of Independence at Ba Dinh Square in Ha Noi on September 2, 1945. Not long afterwards, the French attempted to reassert control of their former dominion, and Ho Chi Minh and his generals were forced into the north-western mountains. During the resistance war of 1946-54, Uncle Ho reverted to his nomadic ways, for the only means of avoiding detection and capture was to live life constantly on the run. He moved from one hide-out to another several times a month, and only lived in stilt-houses. When the war was won in 1954, the Party, Government and Ho Chi Minh came back to Ha Noi. But Uncle Ho eschewed the trappings of authority. A true egalitarian, he chose to live a simple life: he wore brown cotton garments and rubber sandals made from car tyres, and lived in a worker’s cottage out the back of the Presidential Palace. In 1958, Uncle Ho revisited the former resistance base in the north-west and saw some of the stilt-houses where he had spent the war years. When he got back to Ha Noi, he said he wanted a similar stilt-house built on the grounds of the Presidential Palace itself. The Party commissioned an architect from the Department for Army Barracks to design the house, but told him to submit his plans to Uncle Ho for comment before work began. The initial design had three rooms, including a toilet. But Uncle Ho wanted the house to remain faithful to the real thing. "The stilt-house must have only one or two rooms, small rooms at that, and definitely no toilet," he said. The architect amended the designs, and the stilt-house that Ho Chi Minh moved into on May 17, 1958, had two rooms of just 10sq.m each. He lived and worked there for the remaining 11 years of his life.
Today, the stilt-house and its furnishings have been preserved must as they were in the 1960s. In the area under the house, Ho Chi Minh would receive visitors and meet members of the Political Bureau. In the centre of the floor is a long table, with wooden and bamboo chairs around it. Uncle Ho used a rattan armchair in the left-hand corner to sit and read, or rest. In another corner are three telephones that he used to talk to the Political Bureau, the Operations Department and others, and a steel helmet that he wore during the years of the American War.
In the right-hand corner, he kept an aquarium with goldfish to amuse visiting children. The two rooms of the stilt-house are sparsely furnished. One, the bedroom, contains only a bed and wardrobe. The other, the study, houses a table, chair and bookshelf. His appliances were just the bare necessities: a palm-leaf fan, a brown paper fan, a bamboo mosquito catcher, a little thermos-flask, a bottle of water, a radio-set given by Vietnamese nationals in Thailand, and a small electric fan – a gift from the Communist Party of Japan. A little brass bell used to hang on the door. In the stilt-house, Uncle Ho received top cadres, children and his close friends. He spent most of his time writing letters, revolutionary articles encouraging "good people, good deeds," and documents of great historical value on important political tasks such as his 1966 Call against US Imperialism, for National Salvation. Plants and trees were grown in the area around the stilt-house, as Uncle Ho was a poet with a great love for nature and pet animals. The garden is bordered with hibiscus, and the gate of climbing plants is typical of rural Viet Nam. The front garden is decorated with little bushes of fragrant jasmines and eglantines, while at the rear is a stand of star-fruit trees from the country’s south. Spring sends the garden into a colourful riot of mangoes, white blossoms, and orchids. Uncle Ho regularly practised martial arts and taichi with the guards in the garden, also the place where he once conducted people singing the famous song Unity, like a real orchestra conductor. In front of the stilt-house is his fish-pond, teeming with fish that he fed with great care. He only had to clap his hands and they came in shoals for food. The house clearly reveals his humility, his erudition and his love of simplicity and nature.
As late Prime Minister Pham Van Dong once wrote: "It is not merely a landscape, but a way of life; it speaks of a priceless joy that the current civilisation seems deprived of, with its polluted mega-cities and cluttered high-rise apartments."
Today, visitors flock to the stilt-house to remember what kind of a man Uncle Ho was, and to celebrate his memory – a man of sophisticated intellect yet simple pleasures, of revolutionary ideas yet of peaceful disposition.

Quan Thanh Temple :
The three ancient Chinese which are still seen today on the top of the entrance to the temple means Tran Vu Quan. That is literally the temple which is dedicated to Saint Tran Vu. A temple is a place for worshipping saints while a pagoda is dedicated to Buddha and faithful disciplines.
 Saint Tran Vu was a legendary figure which was a combination between a legendary character in Vietnam's legend and a mystic character derived from China's legend. The legendary character in Vietnam's legend was a saint who had earned the merits of assisting King An Duong Vuong in getting rid of ghost spirit during the King's construction of his citadel at Co Loa.
 The Chinese legendary figure was a saint who made great contributions in safeguarding the northern border. Quan Thanh Temple was built during the reign of King Ly Thai To (1010-1028). In 1893 the temple was given a grand facelift to have the shape as we can see it today. Special attention should be paid to a black bronze statute of Saint Tran Vu. The giant statute, formally placed in the main hall, was cast in 1677. Another special object is an ancient bronze bell, 1.5 meters high, which is hanged at the top of the three-gate entrance.
Another object of no less significant is a smaller black bronze statute of Old Trong, a chief artisan of the bronze casting team who had made the giant statute of Saint Tran Vu and the great bell on top of the tree-gate entrance. To commemorate the great contributions of the teacher Old Trong, his students of bronze casting cast his statute and placed in the temple for their for their younger generations to remember Old
Trong for ever.

Hanoi Cathedral :
Hanoi Cathedral 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 (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.

Ly Quoc Su Temple :
Situated at No. 50, Ly Quoc Su Street in down town Hanoi, Ly Quoc Su temple worships a Buddhist Monk of the Ly Dynasty (10th -12th centuries). This Monk, whose full name was Nguyen Chi Thanh, was born on lunar August, 14, 1066 in Dien Xa Village, Gia Vien District in Ninh Binh Province in the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong. In 1077, at the age of 11, Nguyen Chi Thanh began practicing for the Buddhist monkhood and was taught by Tu Dao Hanh, a well-known monk. As the legend says, Monk Tu Dao Hanh was erudite in Buddhism and excellent in healing. He admired and respected Nguyen Chi Thanh's talent and virtue. In 1138, in his seventies, Monk Nguyen Chi Thanh cured King Ly Than Tong of a disease that many famous doctors had failed to do. For his respectful virtue and talent, he was given the title Ly Quoc Su by the King, which meant Great Monk and Merit Teacher of the nation.
The King provided Ly Quoc Su with a serene residential quarter, which was situated next to Bao Thien Pagoda in the centre of Thang Long Capital, on a side of Luc Thuy Lake (Hoan Kiem Lake of today). This pagoda had a 12-storey tower. Apart from preaching Buddhist sutra for the monks and nuns, Ly Quoc Su taught medicine, prescription of medicines and demotic scripts to many people in the temple and surrounding areas. Skilled in bronze casting, Ly Quoc Su also trained many bronze casting craftsmen. That's why when he died at the age of 75 at Giao Thuy Pagoda in Nam Dinh in 1141, King Ly Anh Tong (holding power from 1138 to 1175) had a temple erected right on the ground of the residential quarter where Ly Quoc Su had lived. Throughout the country there are many pagodas worshipping both Buddhists and Ly Quoc Su, who is considered the Saint of the bronze casting craft, such as Giao Thuy Pagoda in Nam Dinh and Keo Pagoda in Thai Binh.
Ly Quoc Su Temple was rehabilitated and re-decorated many times, with the biggest restoration being made in 1954. The cultural and historical treasure of this temple still remains Ly Quoc Su's statue, Buddhist statues and statues of Monk Tu Dao Hanh and his mother and Monk Giac Hai. There is also the precious bell of Tu Chung, cast in the 19th century and a stone stele with inscriptions made in 1855 by Le Dinh Duyen, a famous man. The name of Ly Quoc Su was given to a 244 metre-long street running from Hang Bong to Nha Tho Streets.

Hai Ba Trung Temple:
The temple is also called Dong Nhan Temple because it is located in the area of Dong Nhan village in Hai Ba Trung precinct. The temple was built in 1142 inder the reign of King Ly Anh Tong. It is dedicated to the two Vietnamse heroines Trung Trac and Trung Nhi. At the inner sanctum of the temple there are two statutes made of fine clay dedicating the two ladies Trung. Flanking on either side of the two statutes of Ladies Trung are statutes of 12 women generals who followed the two Ladies leading their army to defeat the foreign aggressors. In the 5th and 6th day of the second lunar month there is a grand festival organized at the site of the temple to commemorate the two national heroines.

Sword Restored Lake:
The lake which is not as large as Ho Tay to the northwest is situated in the center of the city. Because of its unique location Sword Restored Lake is billed as a basket of lower placed in the middle of Hanoi. The name of Sword Restored Lake is derived from a legend which has it that King Le Thai To had a precious sword. The sword. The sword had always been on his side during the 10-year resistance against the Ming aggressors. After he won over the foreign aggression and returned to Thang Long Citadel. One day he went out and boarded a royal boat to cruise in the lake. Suddenly he saw a giant turtle emerging and coming towards him. The king withdrew his sword and pinpointed with the sword the direction of the coming turtle for his soldiers' attention. All of a sudden, the turtle caught the sword between its teeth from the king's hand and submerged. The king thought that it might have been that during the resistance war against the Ming aggreession, the king was offereda sword by genie to help him defeat the enemy. Now when peace has returned the genie appeared and took back the sword. With that thought in mind, King Le Thai To named the lake after episode as Ho Hoan Kiem (Lake of Restored Sword).

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