Led under the level of the Red River, it is under siege six months of the year against its floods.
Its name, Hanoi, appears for the first time in 1812 and means "city above the river".
Nearly ten centuries ago, King Ly Thai To saw a dragon rise above the River. The dream was revealing. The location of the capital was decided, as well as its name Thang Long (the Dragon which takes its rise). Consultation of astrologers and geomancers gave an urbanism that can still be seen.
The throne moved, the fans of Haussmann, during the French administration, exercised their devastating talents. But the garden-town dotted with lakes still has beautiful remains. Whether royal, commercial or intellectual, each activity has its own area.
The royal city was divided into 6 sectors devoted to own activities according to geomancer criteria:
The northern sector was devoted to the king's private life, leisure, communication with nature in his summer palace on the West Lake (named in this way in reference to the imperial Chinese city of Hangzou ) on the hotel location Thang Loi.
It was also the domain of religion, notably with the Tam Quoc pagoda, installed on a peninsula of the West Lake, presumably in protection of the royal city against the dangers coming from the North.
The temple Quan Thanh or Tran Vu, named after the Genie du Nord who killed the nine-tail fox that haunted the surrounding area. Its bronze statue can be seen there. He entered the Vietnamese pantheon as the god of war.
Truch Bach Lake or White Silk Lake, so named in memory of the young girls condemned to weave the silk in a palace that bordered it. It is separated from the West Lake by a dike that supports Thanh Nien Street.
In the Center, the throne, the political activity, dedicated to the public life of the king
The central part of the royal city, where the citadel was built. It was the place of power and authority.
There are also dynastic temples, and it is not a coincidence if the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh was erected here.
The One Pillar Pagoda was built there by the first king of the Ly dynasty. Despaired of having a child, he had the appearance offered by Quan An (Boddhisatva of Buddha) in a lotus flower. As a result of this revelation, he married a peasant woman who gave him a child. To thank Quan An, he had her build this pagoda in the form of a lotus flower.
The citadel was transformed into a fortress in a Vauban model, as many other strongholds, by French architects, who were relatives of Cardinal d'Adran who had assisted Gia Long in his conquest of the throne at the end of the 18th century.
The South, devoted to the masculine and scholarly theme, the Temple of Literature of the civil mandarins and the literati (the first social category), is more to be considered as a place of worship for Confucius, elevated to the rank of tutelary genius of knowledge, than a school to train officials or mandarins, recruited by competition.
It was built in 1070 under Ly Than Tong, originally to teach the princes. Extending his recruitment thereafter, it welcomed three hundred pupils. Each province had a similar institution, smaller by size. The prize-winners of the provinces were then admitted to the Hanoi temple, in order to attain the highest rank of Mandarin. This institution is believed to have influenced France at the end of the 19th century for its creation of the National School of Administration.
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