Hoan Kiem Lake: Uncovering the Timeless Beauty

Visitors to Hanoi's iconic Hoan Kiem Lake are in for a treat this New Year, as they will be able to enjoy a collection of forty captivating photos showcasing the lake and its surrounding treasures. These archival photos offer a unique glimpse into the rich history and cultural significance of this beloved landmark. Whether it's the serene beauty of the lake itself or the fascinating relics that dot its surroundings, tourists will be enthralled by the stories and heritage captured in these images. The New Year festivities at Hoan Kiem Lake just got even more memorable with this visual journey through time. Discover the magic that lies within the heart of Hanoi as you immerse yourself in these precious snapshots of the past.

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The exhibition, which is focused on the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple, will be held until January 10 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Ngoc Son Temple’s recognition as a special national monument.

Visitors to the exhibition. Photo: Nguyen Yen

The displayed documents at Ngoc Son Temple, Jade Island, and Hoan Kiem Lake provide an overview of the lake throughout different eras.

The exhibition is divided into three sections. The first section, titled “Historical Memories,” showcases old photographs of the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake from the feudal period to 1975. The second section, “Imprints of Pearl Island,” features documentary photos that highlight the beauty of Ngoc Son Temple and its unique value. The third section, “Forever with Time,” introduces the preservation and promotion of the value of Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. Despite experiencing historical ups and downs and undergoing several restorations, the temple retains its ancient architecture and beauty.

The temple was built during the Ly Dynasty (1009-1225) on the northeastern side of Hoan Kiem Lake. At the temple’s gate, there is the Pen Tower engraved with the three Vietnamese sinographic words “Ta Thanh Thien,” which means “writing on the clear blue sky.”

The Old Huc Bridge connects the mainland to Jade Island on Hoan Kiem Lake.

To reach Jade Island and Ngoc Son Temple, visitors must cross a bridge called The Huc, which means “Light of Dawn” as it faces east, where the sun rises. The bridge stands out with its vermilion color and crosses the emerald green Hoan Kiem Lake.

Situated in the heart of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake is surrounded by various historical monuments, including Ba Kieu Temple, King Le Temple, French streets, and the Old Quarter.

Scientists believe that the emerald color of the lake is caused by the green algae Chlorophyta, which is endemic to the area and cannot be found elsewhere.

Today, Hoan Kiem Lake has become an ideal weekend getaway for both international travelers and locals. The pedestrian street around Hoan Kiem Lake offers numerous interesting activities such as musical performances, folk games, and more.

The historic lake of Hanoi during French colonial rule in the early 19th century
The Pen Tower on the shore of Hoan Kiem Lake.
Today’s The Huc Bridge.