Located about an hour south of Hanoi is Hoa Lu in the Ninh Binh Province. Hoa Lu was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. There are two temples on the site, one for the first emperor of Vietnam, Ninh Bo Linh, and the other temple is dedicated to the second emperor, Lê Hoàn. The two temples are very similar with the temple dedicated to Ninh Bo Linh being slightly more elaborate.
Temple of Đinh Tiên Hoàn is the temple dedicated to Ninh Bo Linh and is located on the grounds of former palace. Ninh Bo Linh defeated all of the other competing warlords to create the first imperial dynasty of Vietnam. The temple was built to face the river with the mountains behind it in order to create positive energy. As you enter the grounds of Hoa Lu, the Temple of Đinh Tiên Hoàn is to your left and the Temple of Lê Đại Hành is to your right.
The Temple of Lê Đại Hành is dedicated to Lê Hoàn who was the head of Ninh Bo Linh’s army. When Ninh Bo Linh died, his son, Dinh Toan, was only six years old, so Lê Hoàn was named as his regent. There was a rebellion to try and overthrow Lê Hoàn’s authority, but he successfully defeated those who attacked him and he officially took control of the country and created the second imperial dynasty of Vietnam. Lê Hoàn also married Ninh Bo Linh’s widow and had two sons of his own.
The history of Hoa Lu as the ancient capital of Vietnam is certainly quite interesting. Later, in the early 11th century, the capital of Vietnam was moved from Hoa Lu to what is now the city of Hanoi. Hoa Lu was the first stop on our tour of the Ninh Binh Province and we spent about two hours walking the grounds and visiting the temples.