Ho Guom (the Sword lake) also known as Hoan Kiem lake
is a special symbol of the capital Hanoi
, associated with the legend of King Le Thai To returning the precious fairy sword to the golden turtle god after defeating the Ming enemy in the 15th century. Located in the historical center of Hanoi , the lake is one of the major scenic spots in the city and serves as a focal point for its public life. Its charming and poetic beauty has absorbed thousands of Vietnamese and international tourists, touched the soul of generations of poets and artists.
The lake has a total area of 12 hectares with the north - south length at 700m and the east - west width at 200m. It is surrounded by streets in Hanoi Old Quarters including Le Thai To street and Dinh Tien Hoang street in the east, and Hang Khay street in the south.
In the past, Hoan Kiem Lake was called as Luc Thuy Lake, which means Green Lake because the water here is naturally fresh all year round. The name Hoan Kiem first appeared in 15th century associated with the legend of King Le Thai To returning a sword to the Golden Turtle God. According to the legend, there was a fisherman named Le Than. One night, when Le Than cast a net in a river, he picked up a sword in his net. Later on, Le Than took part in the Lam Son insurrection and gave the sword to Le Loi, the leader of the Lam Son insurrection against Minh invaders (Chinese) at this time. One day, when Le Loi passed through a forest, he suddenly saw a strange light on a banyan tree. He climbed the tree and found a jeweled hilt. Le Loi immediately came back home and realized that it was the hilt of the sword that Le Than gave him. Since Le Loi used the magical sword the morale and strength of his army significantly increased. Finally, Le Loi and his army won. He became a King of Vietnam under the name Ly Thai To. One year later, when he was sitting on the boat on Luc Thuy Lake, a Golden Turtle God surfaced and asked him to return the magic sword to the Dragon King (in Vietnamese, Long Vuong). Le Loi gave the sword to the Turtle. The Turtle, as quickly as possible, took the sword and dived into the lake. To commemorate this event, Le Loi renamed Luc Thuy Lake to Hoan Kiem Lake or Sword Lake (Kiem means Sword, Hoan means Return).
Located in the center of the lake, there is the turtle tower built in 1884 - 1886. The tower has three main floors, a top, and four sides. Each side has a length of 6.28 meters (east and west facing), 3 doors, and a width of 4.54 meters. The doors have tapered tops. The second floor is 4.8 meters long, 3.64 meters wide and has the same structure as the first floor. The third floor is 2.97 meters long and 1.9 meters wide. This floor only has a door on the east, with a diameter of 0.68 meters. Above the door, there are 3 letters “Quy Son tower” (Turtle Mountain tower). The top floor is rectangular and each surface is 2 meters.
With each passing season, Hoan Kiem lake along with the surrounding historical and cultural structures such as Ngoc Son temple, But tower (Pen Shaped Tower), Nghien Slab (Ink Slab), The Huc bridge, The statue of King Le and Hoa Phong tower create a unique charm throughout Hanoi.
Nghien Slab (Ink Slab)
But Tower (Pen Shaped Tower)
The Statue of King Le
The Huc bridge looks like a shrimp to make the lake more beautiful
In spring, the space around Hoan Kiem Lake is like a charming natural picture, many flowers bloom on the sides of the lake.
In summer, Hoan Kiem Lake is decorated by flamboyant, red blossoms.
When autumn comes, the leaves change color to yellow. The yellow makes up most of Hanoi’s autumn color, which is praised in poems and songs.
In winter, the bare trees make Hoan Kiem Lake a silver beauty.
Hoan Kiem lake is the pride of the people of Hanoi and people throughout the country, helping to guide the Capital to a thousand years of civilization. It is recommended to visit this amazing place first when you come to Hanoi.