Thursday, November 13, 2008



According to history, in 968 after putting an end to a conflict caused by 12 war-lords and reunifying the country. Dinh Bo Linh declared himself Emperor and named his country Dai Co Viet with the capital located at Hoa Lu, in 984, Le Hoan and many places built and set up Bach-Bao-Thien-Tue Palace on Dai Van mountain top with silver or gold plated pillars and used it as a place for royal audience; to the East was Phong Luu Palace and to the West was Tu Hoa, on the left side was Bong Lai and on the right side was Cuc Lac Palace. After that Dai Van Tower and Truong Xuan Palace were also constructed and the later was used as a bedchamber for the King. Next to Truong Xuan Palace, it was long loc palace with silver tiles (Dai Viet Historical Record - Dai Viet Su Ky Toan Thu)

More than one thousand year have elapsed since the, the gold or silver plated palaces under the Tien Le (First Le Dynasty) no longer existed, only traces of a citadel of around 300 ha within the present-day commune of Truong Yen, Hoa Lu district (Ninh Binh Province) could be seen. The ancient capital at Hoa Lu was divided into two parts: the inner and the outer citadel. The outer citadel was about 300 ha, covering the villages of Yen Thuong, Yen Thanh at present. The inner citadel was as large as the size of the outer citadel, located on the present day village of Chi Phong, Truong Yen commune and as legend says its was a residential area store houses.

In building the Hoa Lu capital, Dinh Tien Hoang managed to take the advantages offtered by the natural terrain to construct palaces and set up fortification lines. The Hoa Lu Capital was located on a rather flat area at the foot of a limestone mountain range in Hoa Lu district. The surrounding limestone range served as a very good natural fortification. Only in the East and North East, the citadel was not supported by the mountain range. In between the two mountains, Dinh Tien Hoang had earthen fortification. Discover the conflict caused by 12 war-lords with Vietnam travel in Ancient Capital at Hoa Lu.Lines built up, thus making it almost a circular fortification. At present, in Truong Yen commune, there are still relies of 10 fortification lines with names like the east, Vau, Den, Bo, Bin, etc...


Phat Diem Cathedral is 130 kilometers south of Hanoi. A priest named Tran Luc built it between 1875 and 1899.

The Phat Diem Cathedral site encloses many Chapels built in oriental style: A lake called Phuong Dinh and the Cathedral. The Cathedral is surrounded by four Chapels, three artificial grottos and a stone Shine.

On a tiny islet in the middle of the rectangular lake reigns a tall white statue of Christ the King.

Phuong Dinh is an imposing stone structure 24 netters long 17 metres wide and 25 metres high. Stone low relief are to be seen inside as well as outside. On its top are hanging a big drum and a big bell weighing about two tons.

The Cathedral built in 1891, is 74 metres long and 21 metres wide, it has four roofs resting on six ranks of ironwood pillars. The two middle ranks have 16 pillars, each eleven metres high, 2.35m in circumference. Each of them is the trunk of a single tree. The high altar was cut in a single block of stone (3 metres long, 90 centimeters large and 80 centimeters high) and carved on its three sides. The back of the high altar is made of chiseled woodworks lacquered and gilt.Discover the conflict caused by 12 war-lords with Vietnam travel in Ancient Capital at Hoa Lu.

On both sides of the Cathedral four Chapels mount the guard of honour, each on has a different style. At the far end rise three stone grottos, the most beautiful of them is that of our Lady of Lourdes, Finally, on the North-West corner of the site rises the jewel of the whole complex: its is popularly called the Stone Chapel because all its parts are made of stone: walls, columns, beams, Windows and towers.

NINH BINH: Where Memories Are Made

Around 100km south of Hanoi, the province offers a world of opportunity to explore nature, culture and history.
Considered one of the original dia linh (sacred) lands, Ninh Binh has 975 notable sites, of which 80 have been dubbed national heritage sites, and throughout history it has given birth to great talent, including the likes of Dinh Tien Hoang, Duong Van Nga, Nguyen Minh Khong, Truong Han Sieu and Nguyen Cong Tru.
Such vast, unadulterated beauty couldn’t remain secret for long.
Slotted for upcoming development, the Trang An Grottoes Eco-tourism Complex consists of limestone mountain ranges, valleys and rivers which blend harmoniously together in a wash of green.
Located 4km southwest of the Hoa Lu old capital in Truong Yen Commune, the destination is made more alluring by the route there. Tourists can begin their visit at King Dinh Tien Hoang and King Le Dai Hanh temples before boarding a row boat down the Sao Khe river to Xuyen Thuy grotto, past rice fields and villages.
Upon reaching the complex, one encounters a system of caves, some of the more noteworthy being Ba Giot (Three Drops), Dia Linh (Holy Land) and May (Cloud). But for those with different interests, there are numerous historical relics related to architecture, economics and social and military history from the Dinh, Le and Ly dynasties.
The 200m-high Bai Dinh Pagoda Mountain , with its many caves and areas of worship, is part of the larger Trang An Grottoes eco-tourist complex and is slotted for serious improvements.
Ecologically and historically rich, much like the rest of the province, in 1997, the Bai Dinh Pagoda Mountain area was recognised as a cultural and historical heritage site.
A recently undertaken project for the 107ha area will involve the construction of a 100 tonne bronze statue of the Great Buddha Sakyamuni, three bronze statues Tam The (50 tonnes each) and 500 statues of La Han (Arhats) made of Ninh Van stones.
Bai Dinh Pagoda will become the largest religious tourist centre in Viet Nam upon completion in 2010 to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of Hoa Lu-Thang Long-Ha Noi capital.
Not far from Ninh Binh City is another must-see attraction: the caves of Tam Coc, the "Ha Long Bay on Land." A stunning set of three low-hanging caves along the muddy Ngo Dong river, Tam Coc lies at the southern entrance of the dramatic Karst mountain range.
Tam Coc literally means three grottoes, also called the Xuyen Thuy (or Water Tunnel-Caves), named the waterways which centuries of erosion have created.
"Our managing board puts serious focus on environmental protection and security," said Vu Thi Tuyet Nhung, a tour guide at the Tam Coc – Bich Dong tourist site. "So we send out three or four boats to pick up rubbish despite the great number of visitors and the shortage of boats."
"We also hold training courses annually for local rowers in order to raise awareness about tourism and improve service skills."
The truly adventurous can explore a more remote area by visiting the Van Long wetland conservation area, 15km north-west of Ninh Binh City. It is the largest wetland reserve in the north of Vietnam with an area of nearly 3,000ha, located in Gia Vien District.
It possesses rich fauna and flora including conifers, Tibetan bears and king cobras. There have been 457 species of plants and 39 species of mammals identified in the area. Eight and 12, respectively are listed in the Red Data Book of Vietnam. Even a few very rare Delacour langur (Trachypithecus Delacouri) live in the protected area. This species exists only in a very small area in northern Viet Nam. According to estimates, there are only 300 animals left today, of which about 40 live in Van Long.
Still mostly untouched by tourism, the area has a system of 32 caverns each with a distinct shape.
"Some regions have beautiful landscapes, others have great historical relics, but Ninh Binh has both: enchanting scenery and deep history," said rower Do Van Bien. "I’m proud of to be a local."

Ancient Capital Hoa Lu Proposed For UNESCO Recognition

The event was co-organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Vietnam Cultural Heritage Association and the Ninh Binh provincial People’s Committee
It aims to identify the prominent cultural values of Hoa Lu in order to compile a scientific document to present to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for recognition as a World Heritage Site.
Scientists affirmed that Hoa Lu is an important cultural and historical site in Vietnam. It was the capital for 42 years under six Kings of the Dinh, Tien Le and Ly dynasties. Hoa Lu used to be a military base and has witnessed many significant events and major changes in the nation.
Meanwhile, Trang An eco-tourism resort is comprised of 31 valleys and 50 caves which are described as an outdoor geological museum or “Ha Long Bay” on the land.