Hoa Lu – The Ancient Capital of Vietnam

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.

Building on the Temple Grounds
River Running Through Hoa Lu
Inside the Temple Dedicated to Dinh Bo Linh
Statue on the Grounds
Dragon Carving on a Stone Tablet

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.

Entering the
Ornate Rooftop
Excavation in the
Inside the Temple
Carriage for the Emperor

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.

Horse Statue
Temple Courtyard
Colorful Details
Ancient Wall
Temple Gate

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.

Details in the Museum
Offerings in the Temple
Display in the Museum
Temple Surrounded by Mountains
Temple Entrance
Entrance to Hoa Lu


11 thoughts on “Hoa Lu – The Ancient Capital of Vietnam

  1. Pingback: The Importance of Dragons in Vietnamese Mythology – Living The Q Life

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