Tuong Long Tower is located on the summit of Long Son (Ngoc Xuyen Ward), the first of nine peaks running along Do Son peninsula. This is a cultural and historical site thousands of years old. This place is also a spiritual destination that attracts a large number of visitors.
Address: Ngoc Xuyen Ward, Do Son District, Hai Phong city
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History of Tuong Long Tower
Built on top of the Ngoc Son Mountain, Tuong Long Tower looks like a pen drawing on the blue sky and the ink-slab is the immense sea. Through the ancient documents and vestiges, Tuong Long Tower is considered as an imposing monument worshiping the Buddha. Besides, it is also an outpost observatory station and the palace of the King in the Northeast sea of Đại Việt country.
Tuong Long Tower (or Do Son Tower) was built in Ly Thanh Tong dynasty. The tower was erected to worship Buddha. This is also the period when Buddhism was in a period of strong development, becoming the state religion.
A meaning name from a legend
According to historical records, Emperor Thanh Tong ordered the construction of a pagoda when visiting the Do Son area and named it Tuong Long, meaning Auspicious Dragon after having a vision of a golden dragon in his dream. There is also a legend in the region that the Do Son sea estuary is one of the first places to receive Buddhism imported to Vietnam via the sea (currently at Hang Pagoda relics).
Through the relics found that Tuong Long tower was built in the same time as Bao Thien tower in Thang Long citadel (now the area of Hanoi Opera House). The original pagoda was 45 meters tall and built on top of hill roughly 100 meters above sea level, making it one of the highest towers at the time of its completion. In the past, Tuong Long was also used as a watch tower as part of an information transmission system in order to send warnings to the capital city if any suspicious foreign activities were detected offshore.
After a thousand year
Since its construction nearly one thousand years ago, the pagoda underwent many renovations under the Tran and Le Dynasties. But in the third year of Gia Long’s reign (1804), the tower was destroyed for bricks for the building of Hai Duong town. After the process of being devastated by time and war, the ancient tower only exists in the form of archaeological relics. Thus, tower ruins are just a square foundation of towers. The bricks found have all the words in Chinese.
The new construction
The reconstruction work began in June 2008 and included a nine-storey pagoda placed on a square base with four stairs. After 10 years of commencement of construction, the tower was completed in 2017.
New tower is located on an area of about 2000 square metres. All its four angles are 190 biased to the centre. The tower shell made of ceramic bricks, features typical of the Ly dynasty. The motifs are very delicate and soft. It was built of different-sized pieces of stones and bricks. Besides the brick, there is also the facing bricks with unique decoration of lotus, chrysanthemum and lemon flowers.
In addition, the tower is empty inside, only to put a statue of Amitabha sitting on a shaped lotus stone in first floor. This is one of the very important items that are the “soul” of the tower. The statue is modeled on the right size, shape and texture of the Amitabha Buddha statue of the Ly Dynasty at the Buddhist Temple (Bac Ninh). The statue is made of monolithic turquoise with a total investment of nearly 6 billion VND from socialization funding.
Outside the tower
The area next to the pagoda is a stele house and an excavation site for storing many wooden and stone artifacts bearing the typical patterns of the Ly Dynasty.
In 2018, the Monuments Management Board has cooperated with Hai Phong Museum to complete the archaeological hole display area. This is the highlight of the monument. On the foundation of the archaeological pit is a side displaying artifacts restored to build a new tower. The other side displays artifacts from 1058 such as: types of bricks and tiles, terracottas pieces carved with dragon images in the leaf threads, pieces of dragon heads, and lovebirds …
Also in this attraction is the Tuong Long pagoda complex. Tuong Long Pagoda has three pagodas that are designed in an open architecture. Each pagoda has four stone pillars carved with intricate patterns. On the inside and the railing are three main doors and a frame of ironwood. They are arranged in harmony with Tam Bao House, there are 20 bronze statues weighing more than 20 tons.
In particular, there is a bell weighs 1 ton, imitating the Van Ban temple bell of Do Son. It was cast directly on the summit of Jade Mountain from the contributions of thousands of monks, nuns and Buddhists.
Activities in Tuong Long Tower
Because Tuong Long tower is built on a high position, you can see the whole of Do Son beach here. This is a wonderful experience, bringing peace of mind, harmony with nature. At night, thanks to the electric light system, the night view of this place is also impressive.
When visiting Tuong Long tower, tourists not only learn about the history and architecture of the tower complex, but also learn more about Buddhist beliefs.
Like many temples in Vietnam, on the 1st or 15th of the lunar calendar is a very crowded with people. They come here to pray for luck and convenience in life and at work.
Because the temple is a sacred place, you should also pay attention to costumes when coming here. Here are some examples:
• Choose courteous colors
• Wear a collared shirt
• Do not wear short or short skirts
• Do not wear net socks