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Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake (Hoàn Kiếm Lake), also known as Hồ Gươm in Vietnamese, is a picturesque freshwater lake in the historical center of Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. 

“Hoan Kiem” translates to “Lake of the Returned Sword” in English.

The lake is one of Hanoi’s most famous and scenic spots and holds significant cultural and historical importance.

Key features and aspects of Hoan Kiem Lake include:

Legend of the Returned Sword

According to legend, in the 15th century, Emperor Le Thai To was given a magical sword by the Golden Turtle God. 

The sword helped him defeat the invaders from the Chinese Ming Dynasty. 

After the victory, while boating on the lake, a giant turtle emerged to reclaim the sword. 

Hence, the lake was named Hoan Kiem Lake, symbolizing the sword’s return to its divine owner.

Hoan Kiem turtle

Once upon a time, in the mystical waters of Hoan Kiem Lake, giant soft-shell turtles were the local celebs—either the Rafetus swinhoei or the fancy Rafetus leloi, named after the emperor himself.

They were the A-listers of the turtle world, making occasional red carpet appearances in the lake for years. But hold your shell phones because the plot thickens: the last known turtle celeb took its final bow on January 19, 2016. Cue the dramatic exit.

In a world where turtle stardom is as rare as a unicorn sighting, three VIP turtles are left from the swinhoei squad.

It’s like the Hollywood of the turtle universe; these three are the last blockbuster survivors.

Who will be the next turtle sensation? Only time will tell in this shell-shocking tale of fame, fortune, and a dwindling turtle entourage.

Stay tuned for the next riveting episode of “Turtle Diaries”! 🐢

Ngoc Son Temple

Located on a small island in the northern part of the lake, Ngoc Son Temple (Temple of the Jade Mountain) is connected to the shore by the iconic red-painted wooden Huc Bridge. 

The temple is dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao, a national hero, and features various artifacts and relics.

The Huc Bridge

Also known as the Rising Sun Bridge, the Huc Bridge is a beautiful red wooden bridge leading to Ngoc Son Temple. 

It is a popular spot for visitors to take photos and enjoy panoramic views of the lake.

Turtle Tower (Thap Rua)

Turtle Tower is a prominent landmark on a small island near the lake’s center. 

The tower is associated with the legend of the giant turtle reclaiming the sword.

Scenic Surroundings

Hoan Kiem Lake is surrounded by lush greenery and well-maintained parks, providing a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Locals and tourists often gather for leisurely walks, exercise, and relaxation.

Cultural Events

The lake is a focal point for various cultural events and celebrations throughout the year, including festivals, parades, and traditional performances.

Tourist Attraction

Hoan Kiem Lake is a significant tourist attraction, drawing visitors with its natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural richness. 

It is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.

Overall, Hoan Kiem Lake is a scenic, tranquil retreat symbolizing Hanoi’s rich history and cultural heritage.

It plays a central role in the city’s identity and remains a must-visit landmark for anyone exploring Hanoi.

Hoan Kiem Lake
Famous ForHistorical significance: Legend of the Returned Sword
LocationHanoi, Vietnam
AttractionsNgoc Son Temple, Turtle Tower, Huc Bridge
WalkaroundApproximately 1.5 kilometers
Natural or ArtificialNatural freshwater lake
DepthAverage depth of 1-2 meters
LegendAssociated with Emperor Le Thai To and the Golden Turtle God

Hoan Kiem Lake is famous for its cultural and historical significance, including the legend of the Returned Sword associated with Emperor Le Thai To.

Yes, visitors can enjoy a pleasant stroll around the scenic perimeter of Hoan Kiem Lake.

The legend of Hoan Kiem involves the magical sword given to Emperor Le Thai To by the Golden Turtle God, symbolizing the lake’s name, which translates to “Lake of the Returned Sword.”

Sword Lake, or Hoan Kiem Lake, has a rich history intertwined with Hanoi’s development, cultural events, and its role as a focal point for locals and tourists.

The legend of the restored sword of King Le is centered around the miraculous return of a sword to the Golden Turtle God in Hoan Kiem Lake after Emperor Le Thai To’s victory.

The walk around Hoan Kiem Lake is approximately 1.5 kilometers, offering a scenic route with views of historical landmarks.

Hoan Kiem Lake is a natural freshwater lake, enriched with cultural and historical significance.

The depth of Hoan Kiem Lake varies, but it is generally not very deep, with an average depth ranging from 1 to 2 meters.

In the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake, there is a small island featuring Ngoc Son Temple, connected to the shore by the iconic Huc Bridge.

Hoan Kiem Lake is also known as Sword Lake, reflecting its association with the legendary sword in Vietnamese folklore.

The distance around Hoan Kiem Lake is approximately 4 kilometers, making it a popular spot for leisurely walks and exercise.

Hoan Kiem Lake is located in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam.

In English, Hoan Kiem Lake is translated as “Lake of the Returned Sword” or “Sword Lake,” reflecting its historical and mythical significance.

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