Hoa Lu Ancient Capital belongs to Trang An landscape complex recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. Not only does Hoa Lu show off the majestic beauty of nature, but it also contains the history of Vietnam in the tenth century where many important events took place.
• Address: Truong Yen commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam
• Opening time: Daily 07:00-16:00
• Entrance fee: VND.20000/person
Table of contents
Overview of Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is located in Ninh Binh province. The area is approximately 90 km south of Hanoi. Together with Phat Diem Cathedral, Tam Coc – Bich Dong, Bai Dinh Temple, Trang An, and Cuc Phuong, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ninh Binh Province. The land has both marvelous mountains and seas with the development of many attractive tourist areas.
Hoa Lu Ancient Capital creates the cultural identity of the area and help people understand more about the cultural, architectural and sculptural values associated with the legend about the foundation of Dai Co Viet ( an old name of Viet Nam).
Hoa Lu ancient historical relic site now has a planned area of 13.87 km² in Ninh Binh province. Over 1000 years, the ancient capital Hoa Lu is a place to store historical relics through the ages.
This place is worth visiting for anyone who wants to explore and learn new things.
Hoa Lu was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. Hoa Lu capital was chosen to be the capital of Dai Co Viet during the period of 3 dynasties of Kings Ding, Le and Ly. Since the King Ly Thai To moved it to Thang Long (Ha Noi today) Hoa Lu became an ancient capital which maintained many ancient temples and relic sites.
Hoa Lu was the capital of Vietnam for just 42 years (968-1010), but it holds the history of Vietnam and the three dynasties of Dinh, Early Le, and Ly. It’s not a random choice that King Dinh choose Hoa Lu as a capital. Many high mountains watch over the valley of Hoa Lu, acting as a natural barrier to protect the capital. Then King Ly moved the capital to Thang Long (which means flying dragon), which is the current capital of Vietnam in Hanoi. After that, Hoa Lu was still an important military base in the north of Vietnam.
Nowadays, Hoa Lu ancient capital became a very important architectural and historical complex of Viet Nam. It was recognized as one of the 4 cores forming of the UNESSCO World Heritage Site- Trang An.
What to expect
Ma Yen mountain
The height of Ma Yen mountain is about 200m. People called it Ma Yen, because it looks like a saddles.
This mountain is associated with the legend of Dinh Bo Linh who chose this mountainous region to build the capital.
When the king passed away, the people buried his body on top of the mountain. Also at the foot of Ma Yen mountain to the south, there is also the tomb of King Le Dai Hanh
If standing on the top of Ma Yen, you can see the panorama of ancient capital of Hoa Lu.
King Dinh temple (worship the King Dinh Tien Hoang)
King Dinh Temple is one of the unique architectures in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, worshipping King Dinh Tien Hoang (King of Dai Co Viet Dynasty). The architecture lies at the foot of Ma Yen mountain, you have to climb up 265 steps getting to the top of the mountain to see King Dinh Temple. From there, you can take a panoramic view of Hoa Lu Imperial city.
The temple is divided into three shrines: the outer one is Ngo Mon Gate, the middle is called Thien Huong and the inner one worships King Dinh Tien Hoang. Legend has it that Dinh Bo Linh (DinhTien Hoang’s first name) took his troop to clear away twelve independent feudal warlords.
Especially, the unique architecture applied to build the temple of King Dinh was the art of wood and stone carving which was made by almost Vietnamese folk artists in the 17th century.
The temple offers an ancient and sediment beauty and makes us feel how the city was a millennium ago.
King Le temple
Not far from the temples of King Dinh is King Le Temple, worshiping King Le Dai Hanh. King Le temple lies at the foot of Ma Yen mountain to the south.
The temple has the similar architectural design with King Ding Temple, but smaller. It is also divided into 3 parts: front shrine, Thien Huong house and the sanctum worshipping Le King.
Both King Dinh and Le temple are symbols for Vietnamese people’s reverence and gratitude to the two kings who offered sacrifices in the 10th century.
Nhat Tru pagoda
Nhat Tru Pagoda, Nhat Tru means a column, is an ancient temple from the 10th century in the special preserved area of Hoa Lu ancient relic (Ninh Binh).This pagoda was used as the place of meetings between the monks. At that time, monks held a very high class in society and were generally invited by the king to discuss national problems.
Activities in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
Visiting Hoa Lu doesn’t force you to have to determine the time. However spring is usually considered as the most beautiful time in to drop by Hoa Lu Ninh Binh. Because there will be many stunning festivals after Lunar Tet holiday. This time is suited for anyone who wants to participate in and experience busy atmospheres, crowds in the festivals. Oppositely, if you like a peaceful space, you should visit Hoa Lu Ninh Binh on the other days of the year.
In addition to, March 8 – March 10 is the time of the traditional festival of Hoa Lu ancient capital to honor the kings and national heroes that have built and developed Hoa Lu capital in the 10th century. Hoa Lu ancient capital festival consists of two parts. Besides the ceremony, the festival with traditional games such as boat racing, wrestling, cheo singing … take place in, which make the atmosphere extremely jubilant and bustling.
Tour to this place: Hoa Lu Tam Coc Ninh Binh day tour
Tips for visiting Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh is a spiritual tourist destination, so when you come here you need to dress politely. Here are some examples:
• Choose courteous colors
• Wear a collared shirt
• Do not wear short or short skirts
• Do not wear net socks
Visiting King Dinh and King Le temples, you need to be gentle to preserve the honor as well as burn incense to pay homage to the kings who have merit with the country.
Must follow the guidance of the monument management or the tour guide.
Must throw the garbage in the right place, not littered indiscriminately.