the very first capital
"We toured to the Hoa Lu ancient palace, which was a good cultural experience to learn about the ancient history of Vietnam. It was beautiful. Followed by buffet lunch at the restaurant, which was quite sumptuous, by Vietnam standard.
In conclusion, I felt this was an interesting tour"
Hoa Lu - was the first capital of Vietnam and is close to Ninh Binh. It was the capital of the 10th to the 11th century and it was not that big, only 300 ha. This small kingdom called Dai Co Viet and it had a citadel. Hoa Lư was the capital as well as the economic, political and cultural
centre of Dai Co Viet. The surrounding limestone hills and the citadel provided a good defence against the Chinese. It included defensive earthen walls, palaces, temples and shrines, and was surrounded and protected by mountains of limestone.
The ancient capital at Hoa Lu consists of two separate enclosures, the Inner Citadel which lies to the west and the Outer Citadel which lies to the east, and which includes most of the sites visited by tourists. The two citadels are separated by a limestone mountain. Both have access to the Hoang Long ("Golden Dragon") River that runs just north-west of the capital and that, via a system of rivers, connects Hoa Lu to the sea.
The combination of mountains and sea gave Hoa Lu a picturesque countryside. Hoa Lu is situated in a flat valley surrounded by limestone mountains of Trang An, which formed a natural and protected wall around the old citadel. Northwest of the city flows the Hoang Long River and its tributaries flow through the capital. This cooled the hot weather in the city and were convenient waterways.
There is not much left of this ancient kingdom. What is left are the remains of palaces and temples, which are only of interest to archaeologists. The "Royal Court" was built in an area of 150 hectares in the eastern part of the capital, while the western part served as a place to educate and protect children. The surrounding area is very picturesque with its lakes and jagged horizon of limestone mountains.
The bridge to the city
There are two temples from the 17th century at Hoa Lu, which are copied to the original from the 11th century. They are the Dinh Tien Hoang Temple and Hoan Le temple. They are dedicated to the founder of the Dinh dynasty and its successor. These temples can be reached after a climb of over 200 steps. Hoa Lu was 41 years, the capital of the country (968-1009). It had many palaces, pagodas, tombs and pavilions that were built by various dynasties. One of the most popular relics is the Bao Thien Tue Palace, which was covered with gold and silver. But many relics have been destroyed by time and weather.
Like any reasonable city Hoa Lu has some traditional, cultural festivals, which you can attend. The largest and most important is the Truong Yen Festival, which is held on the 10th day of the third lunar month in Truong Yen.
This festival has a ceremonial and recreational. At the ceremonial part is a procession from the river and then goes to the two temples of King Dinh and King Le. They are worshiped with incense and many speeches. The recreation area consists of performing "Co lau tap tran", writing in Han script, lion dance, dragon dance, rowing, chess, wrestling etc.
From a travelogue:
"This is the gateway to the Ancient World. Both Hoa Lu - Tam Coc are really fantastic. The Beauty of Nature will not disappoint you. The hours you spend in yout travelto Joa Lu is definitely all worth it."