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An Introduction to Hanoi

 

 

Hanoi has gained increasing popularity over the years in two different ways. There are people who come here for either vacation or business trips and other groups of people who come to Hanoi on their way to other places in the North, as it is a good connecting point.

Hanoi is found in the Red River Delta, where it was established 1,000 years ago. 2010 is an important year in the history of the city for it marks 1,000 years since its establishment. However, people have lived in the area from as far back as 3000 BC. The city was an important political base between 1010 and 1802.

The summers are typically hot and humid, while the winters are relatively dry and cool compared to most of the country. The dry monsoon comes from October to April. There is usually light rain between January and March, when the weather is generally cold. The wet monsoon is between May and September, when the city experiences heavy rains and storms, although it remains relatively hot. You should therefore pack according to the season in which you plan your visit.

There are many things to do and places to visit in Hanoi. One of the popular destinations is the Old Quarter. An interesting feature is how the portions of buildings facing the streets are narrow, with the other sides being relatively long. That was a way of minimizing the taxes paid, which were determined by how wide buildings were along the streets. It resulted in a tradition of building design that the Vietnamese still practice to date.

It is a good idea to set aside one day to take a thorough tour of the Old Quarter, and you can either hire a cyclo or take a walk through the town.

There is quite an interesting legend as to the origin of the historic One Pillar Pagoda that was initially built in 1049. It was said that as King Ly Thai Tong slept one night, he dreamt that the goddess of Mercy, who stood on a lotus flower, was giving him a son. The king had no child. It did not take long for the queen to become pregnant and give birth.

As a show of appreciation, King Ly Thai Tong built the Pillar Pagoda in a lotus pond. He called it 'Dien Huu' or 'Good Luck'.

In 1954, the French razed the pagoda to ashes in fury as they were being pushed out of Vietnam. The pagoda was rebuilt in 1955 using concrete. The overall design of the pagoda makes it stand apart from the rest of the pagodas in the country and indeed the entire Southeast Asia.

The Temple of Literature is the best known Confucian temple in the whole of Vietnam. The temple, also known as Van Mieu, is where the first university operated between 1076 and 1779, when it produced more than 2,000 doctors. Emperor Le Thanh Tong started the practice of carving names of the university laureates on stone steles that were cemented to the backs of stone turtles in 1484.

 



 

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