Hoan Kiem Lake was once part of the Red river (Song Hong). Throughout thousands of years of geographical changes, the lake moved eastward to its present position, separating from the river. Situated inside a complex of Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, Pen Tower, Hoan Kiem Lake is one of things to see in Hanoi with a lovely picturesque setting.
The water of Hoan Kiem Lake is not commonly found in other lakes elsewhere in the country. It looks all the year round greenish, with dark or light shade depending on the reflection of the sky. That makes the lake special.
The historical value is another reason to make Hoan Kiem Lake to be Hanoi’s must-see these days for visitors to this city. The name of the lake means “lake of the returned sword”. The story behind the name is a legend. In 1418, the Vietnamese emperor Le Loi fought a war against the Chinese. It wasn’t going too well for him. One day when he walked by the lake, he saw a giant tortoise coming out of the water with a magic sword in its mouth. He took the sword and eventually defeated the Chinese army with it. When he was having his victory parade at the shores of the lake the other day, the tortoise appeared again and demanded the sword back. Before he could do anything, the sword flew away from his hands to the tortoise’s mouth. Together with the sword, the tortoise disappeared into the water. The emperor later had a temple built to worship the tortoise and the sword in the lake. Ho Hoan Kiem or Hoan Kiem Lake has so the meaning of lake of the returned sword.
The built temple or known as Turtle Tower, which lies in the middle of the Lake, is to remind the Vietnamese of the Turtle God and his great assistance.
Despite the time’s ashes and dust, Hoan Kiem Lake – the popular historical and legendary beauty-spot keeps eternal for good as an evidence of heroic Hanoi during the past wars, and a romantic & charming Hanoi of Today!