Hanoi is still considered as the city of lakes, among West Lake is the largest natural lake in Hanoi with the area over 500ha and the road is surrounded the lake is until 18km length. Since in the past, West Lake was a very famous sightseeing for kings to take sightseeing, under Ly – Tran Dynasty there were the beautiful palaces to be built around this lake.
Now a day, West Lake area become one of parts in the center of Hanoi capital, there are a lot of the famous destinations to be located around West lake such as Tran Quoc Pagoda, Quan Thanh Temple, Ho Chi Minh Complex with Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Stilt-house, One Pillar Pagoda….Specially in this area there is Nghi Tam village the fatherland of the famous woman is Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, this village is very famous with Kim Lien Pagoda where has very special architecture, beside Nghi Tam Village this area has Nhat Tan Village with Tao Sach Pagoda, and very famous with the peach gardens, the mandarin orange-tree gardens. Exploring West Lake, the tourist must be included a very famous site is Tay Ho Palace this site not only is a relic but also it is a very famous sightseeing, there are a lot of people to arrive here to pray on the date of 15th and 1st of lunar month. Chu Van An school with the special and historical architecture is also located nearby West Lake, and West Lake area also have a very famous road is Thanh Nien Street, there are a lot of the couples whose prefer to arrive here to see the sunset everyday, or simple they arrive here to take sightseeing of this large lake.
Specially around West Lake there are many famous local restaurants with the special dishes of Hanoi such as Pho Cuan, Banh Tom…Arrival to Hanoi, the tourist should not be missed to explore this lake to try these special food. West Lake is also located nearby the center of Hanoi, there are a lot of the famous destinations that are located nearby this area are included in the city tour of Hanoi. The tourist could walk, catch a bus, rent a taxi or cyclo or even ride a bike to go around West Lake to take sightseeing, try the local food, take the most beautiful photographs…so that this special and famous site should not miss once travel Hanoi.
West Lake was created from a curved part of Red River and appeared in several Vietnamese legends. One legend suggests that West Lake was shaped after the battle between Lạc Long Quân and a nine-tailed fox spirit, and that’s why the lake was once called “Fox Corpse Swamp” (Đầm Xác Cáo). Another folk story claimed that original name of the lake was “Golden Buffalo Lake” (Hồ Trâu Vàng, or Han Viet: Hồ Kim Ngưu) because it was formed from struggle of a buffalo after the disappearance of her calf. In the 11th century, the lake was named “Foggy Lake” (Han Viet: Hồ Dâm Đàm) due to its misty condition. Ultimately its name was changed to “West Lake” in 1573 to avoid the given name of king Lê Thế Tông, which was Duy Đàm.
West Lake is bordered by many significant places in the history of Hanoi and Vietnam. Trấn Quốc Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Vietnam, was built in the 6th century by Lý Nam Đế and is located on a small island in the middle of the lake. Near Tran Quoc Pagoda is Quán Thánh Temple, one of the Four Sacred Temples of ancient Hanoi (Vietnamese: Tứ trấn Thăng Long). Chu Van An High School, one of the oldest high schools in Vietnam, is also located close to the lake.
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