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The Pen Tower

Nestled by Hoan Kiem Lake, the Pen Tower (Tháp Bút) stands tall, a testament to literature and martial prowess. 

Built in 1865 on the old Doc Ton mountain base, this five-story stone tower is a beacon of cultural significance, showcasing Confucian ideals and historical narratives.

Architecture and Symbolism

Crafted from stacked stones, the tower’s 12-meter diameter base supports a 28-meter structure with five floors. 

At its peak, an upside-down brush nib, 0.9 meters in height, symbolizes the art of writing. 

The words “Ta Thanh Thien” (Writing in the blue sky) are inscribed vertically on its body, echoing the tower’s dedication to literary pursuits.

Literary and Historical Significance

The Pen Tower’s origin story intertwines with the martial history of Lord Trinh in suppressing the uprising led by Nguyen Danh Phuong. 

The tower’s location on a mound, representing Doc Ton Mountain, is a nod to this historical context. 

As Nguyen Van Sieu wrote in 1865, it commemorates the victory over rebellion and the enduring bond between victory and culture.

Doc Ton Mountain and Ngoc Boi Mountain

Adjacent to Doc Ton Mountain is Ngoc Boi Mountain, also constructed by Lord Trinh, symbolizing victory and culture. 

Khanh Thuy Palace, once located nearby, has left its mark in the names of Bao Khanh village and street, preserving historical significance.

The Inkstone of Dai Nghien

At the entrance to Ngoc Son Temple, Dai Nghien, a blue stone inkstone carved in the shape of half a peach, greets visitors. 

Inscribed with a concise yet profound message by Nguyen Van Sieu, it reflects on the contemplative nature of the study and the scenic beauty of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Musical Homage: “Nien But Non Song”

In honor of the Pen Tower, Dinh Duong composed “Nien But Non-Song,” which celebrates the tower’s enduring legacy and place in Hanoi’s cultural tapestry.

Explore the Pen Tower and Hoan Kiem Lake

Experience the rich history and cultural significance of the Pen Tower and Hoan Kiem Lake.

Immerse yourself in the stories and beauty of Hanoi’s iconic landmarks, where every corner has a tale to tell.

The Pen Tower
Pen Tower at Hoan Kiem Lake
LocationHoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi
Year Built1865
Architectural StyleConfucian
Dimensions12m diameter base, 28m height
SymbolismRepresents literature and martial arts
SignificanceCelebrates literature and historical victories
Adjacent MountainsDoc Ton Mountain and Ngoc Boi Mountain
Adjacent PalaceKhanh Thuy Palace
Associated Musical Composition“Nien But Non Song” by Dinh Duong



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