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Từ điển Việt Anh (Vietnamese English Dictionary)
Hà Nội



Hà Nội is the political capital of Vietnam. Hà Nội lies in Red River Delta and is situated in a tropical area having a strong monsoon influence. The name of Hà Nội (Interior side of a river) has been derived from an ancient language which is literally known as a land area located in the inner side of Red River. It does not mean that the city is inside the river, but it is embraced by about 100 km of the Red River dykes. Hà Nội has four inner precincts (Hoàn Kiếm, Ba Đình, Hai Bà Trưng, Đống Đa) and five suburban districts (Từ Liêm, Thanh Trì, Gia Lâm, Đông Anh and Sóc Sơn). From the time when the first State of ancient Vietnam was established, Hà Nội (formerly Thăng Long) has been considered a sacred and typical part of Vietnam. It was in the autumn of 1010 that Lý Công Ờân (also known as Lý Thái Tổ) - the founder of Nhà Hậu Lý (Post-Ly Dynasty) - removed the court from Hoa Lư (present-day Ninh Bình province) to Đại La Citadel which was later renamed as Thăng Long. As soon as the royal fleet with King Lý Thái Tổ aboard cast anchors at the landing wharf in the Nhị River (present-day Red River), there ascended a golden dragon. Thinking that it was a good omen for his trip, King Lý Thái Tổ had Đại La Citadel renamed Thăng Long (Ascending Dragon). He also had Hoa Lư - his former capital - renamed Trường Yên. 1397 was the year marking an end to the decline of Nhà Hậu Lê (Post-Le Dynasty). It was the time when the king indulged himself in entertainments. Hồ Quý Ly, a high-ranking court official, overthrew the king and proclaimed himself the king of a new dynasty - Hồ Dynasty. This dynasty removed the court to Tây Đô (Western Capital) in Thanh Hoá province. Thăng Long was then renamed Đông Đô (Eastern Capital). In 1407, the Ming aggressors defeated the army of Hồ Dynasty. They rushed to Đông Đô Citadel and renamed it Đông Quan Citadel. In 1418, a farmer whose name was Lê Lợi (future Lê Thái Tổ) grouped an insurrection army in Lam Sơn district in Thanh Hoá province. He proclaimed himself as Bình Định Vương (King of Pacification) and led the resistance against the aggressors for 10 years and regained national independence. He entered the then Đông Quan Citadel and the next year, he renamed the citadel as Đông Kinh (Eastern Imperial City). In 1527, when a new dynasty - Nhà Mạc (Mac Dynasty) - was in the control of the country, the citadel resumed its former name (Thăng Long). In 1802, King Gia Long established the first court of Nhà Nguyễn (Nguyễn Dynasty) in Phú Xuân in the central coastal city of Huế. Thăng Long was then used as the regional capital exercising influence on 11 northern citadels. But the word LONG which literally meant RũNG (Dragon) was changed to 'long' which was understood as 'thịnh' (Prosperity). In 1831, King Minh Mạng established the province of Hà Nội which includes the ancient Thăng Long Citadel and the districts of Từ Liêm, ứng Hoà, Thường Tín and Lý Nhân. In 1888, after the tragic defeat of Nhà Nguyễn (Nguyễn Dynasty), Hà Nội became a colonial city until 1954. Hà Nội capital was liberated from French colonialists on October 10, 1954. After April 30, 1975, Hà Nội was officially recognized as the capital of Vietnam by the communist goverment. In the old days, each of 36 guild streets in Hà Nội had its name closely associated with the trade and occupation of the inhabitants Now, Hà Nội has 381 streets representing a tenfold increase as compared with the ancient Hà Nội with 36 guild streets only. These are some tourist attractions of Hà Nội
Chùa một cột (One-pillar Pagoda): Its original name was Diên Hựu (long-lasting happiness and good luck). Legend has it that King Lý Thái Tôn was very old and had no son of his own. Therefore, he often went to pagodas to pray for Buddha's blessing so that he might have a son. One night, he had a dream that he was granted a private audience with Buddha with a male baby in his hands. Buddha, sitting on a lotus flower in a square-shaped lotus pond in the western side of Thăng Long Citadel, gave the king the baby. Months later, the queen got pregnant and gave birth to a male child. To repay gift from Buddha, the king ordered the construction of a pagoda which was supported by only one pillar resembling a lotus seat on which Buddha had been seated. The pagoda was dedicated to Buddha
Quốc Tử Giám (Temple of Literature) was built in 1070 as a dedication to the founder of Confucianism. Six years later, Quốc Tử Giám - the first university of Vietnam - was built in the premises of Văn Miếu. Quốc Tử Giám was the first school for princes and children of royal family members. In 1482, King Lê Thánh Tôn ordered the erection of steles with inscription of all the names, birth dates and birth places of doctors and other excellent graduates who took part in examinations since 1442. Each stela is placed on the back of a turtle representing the nation's longevity. During Nhà Nguyễn (Nguyễn Dynasty), Temple of Literature was moved to Phú Xuân (Huế Royal City)
Chùa Kim Liên (Kim Lien Pagoda): Legend has it that in the 12th century, Princess Tu Hoa, daughter of King Lý Thần Tôn, led her ladies-in-waiting to this area. They cultivated mulberry and silkworms to make silk. Later, a pagoda was built right on the site and by 1771, it was named Kim Liên (Golden Lotus)
Chùa Quán Sứ (Quan Su Pagoda) was built in the 17th century. It is located in the street of the same name. Since 1958, Vietnam Buddhism Association has used this pagoda as its head office
Đền Quan Thánh (Quan Thanh Temple): The three ancient Chinese characters which are still seen today on the top of the entrance to the temple mean Tran Vu Quan. Literally, the temple is dedicated to Saint Tran Vụ Temples are places for worshipping saints while pagodas are dedicated to Buddha and faithful disciplines. Saint Tran Vu was a legendary figure which was a combination between a legendary character in Vietnam's legend and a mystic character derived from Chinás legend. In Vietnam's legend, he was a saint who had earned the merits of assisting Thục Phán (future King An Dương Vương) in getting rid of ghost spirit during the construction of Cổ Loa Citadel. An Dương Vương Temple in Cổ Loa Citadel (Đông Anh district) is also named Thuong Temple. Inside it, there are An Dương Vu o ng's bronze statue (cast in 1897) and a big arbalest symbolizing the magic arbalest in the old days. In Chinás legend, Saint Tran Vu was a saint who had made many contributions in safeguarding the northern border. Quan Thánh Temple was built during the reign of King Lý Thái Tổ (1010-1028). Special attention should be paid to the black bronze statue of Saint Tran Vụ Another object of no less significance is a smaller black bronze statue of Old Trong, a chief artisan of the bronze casting team who had made the giant statue of Saint Tran Vu and the great bell on top of the entrance
Đền Hai Bà Trưng (Hai Bà Trưng Temple) is also called Đồng Nhân Temple, because it is located in Đồng Nhân village, Hai Bà Trưng precinct. Built in 1142 under the reign of King Lý Anh Tôn, it is dedicated to the two Vietnamese heroines Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị. On the 5th and 6th days of the lunar second month, there is a grand festival at this temple to commemorate the two national heroines
Hồ Tây (West Lake) & Đường Thanh Niên (Youth Road): Youth Road can be compared to a beautiful bridge spanning across the two large bodies of water - West Lake to the northwest and Trúc Bạch Lake to the southeast. Covering an area of nearly 500 hectares, Hồ Tây was also called Dam Dam (Misty Pond), Lang Bac (White Waves)....Oral tradition has it that Hồ Tây derived from a low-lying area upturned by a golden buffalo, so the stream derived from Hồ Tây was named Sông Kim Ngưu (Golden Buffalo River). As for Trúc Bạch Lake, legend has it that in the old days, Trúc Bạch Lake was where lived the abandoned ladies-in-waiting who were forced to weave silk. Therefore, beautiful silk was called Trúc Bạch (Silk of the Trúc village). As the biggest lake in the city, Hồ Tây is surrounded by many areas reputed for their traditional occupations: Yên Phụ and Nghi Tàm (silkworm-breeding and silk-weaving villages in the past), Quảng Bá, Nhật Tân (peach-growing village), Bưởi (paper-making village). In Tây Sơn times, Nguyễn Huy Lượng wrote Tụng Tây Hồ Phú (Eulogy for West Lake) so as to highlight the landscapes of the West Lake and Nguyễn Huệ (future Quang Trung)'s glorious merits. Now, Hồ Tây has been earmarked for the city's major tourism development center
Hồ Hoàn Kiếm (Lake of Restored Sword): The name of this lake is derived from a legend having it that a fisherman named Lê Thân caught a sword blade when drawing the fish-net. Thân decided to offer it to his commanding general Lê Lợi (future Lê Thái Tổ). Afterwards, Lê Lợi found a hilt fitting that blade very well. This sword had always been on his side during 10 years of resistance against Ming aggressors After winning over the foreign aggression, King Lê Thái Tổ returned to Thăng Long Citadel. One day, aboard a royal boat, he took a cruise in the Lục Thủy lake. Suddenly, a giant turtle emerged and came towards him. The king withdrew his sword, and pinpointed with the sword the direction of the coming turtle for his soldiers' attention. All of a sudden, the turtle caught the sword between its teeth from the king's hand and submerged. The king thought that during the resistance against Ming aggressors, the genius had offered him this sword to help him defeat the enemy. At that time, the peace was returning, and the genius appeared to take back the sword. Consequently, King Lê Thái Tổ decided to name the Luc Thuy lake Hồ Hoàn Kiếm (Lake of Restored Sword). In the middle of the lake is Tháp Rùa (Turtle Tower). The lake abounds in big turtles aged five or six hundred. When there are the changes in weather, they often emerge or expose themselves at the foot of the Turtle Temple
Đền Ngọc Sơn (Ngoc Son Temple): Initially, the temple was called Ngọc Sơn Pagoda. Later, it was renamed as Ngọc Sơn Temple, because it was dedicated to the saints. Saint Van Xuong was a person considered the brightest star in Vietnam's literature and intellectual circles. Trần Hưng Đạo was worshipped because he was the national hero who led the Vietnamese people to a resounding victory over the Mongol aggression. The temple as it is seen today was attributable to the restoration efforts of Nguyễn Văn Siêu, a great Hanoian writer. He had a large pen-shaped tower (Tháp Bút) built at the entrance to the temple. On the upper section of Tháp Bút, there are three Chinese characters Tả Thanh Thiên which mean literally that to write on the blue sky is to imply the height of a genuine and righteous person's determination and will. Behind Tháp Bút is Đài Nghiên (Ink Stand). The Ink Stand is carved from stone resembling a peach, which is placed on the back of three frogs on top of the gate to the temple. Passing through Đài Nghiên, visitors will tread on the wooden bridge called Thê Húc. Thê Húc is literally understood as the place where beams of morning sunshine are touching
NGHI TÀM: A VILLAGE OF FLOWERS? Once upon a time, the King of Nhà Hậu Lý decided to build a palace for Princess Từ Hoa in a village near Thăng Long so that she could spend her time farming silk cocoons on the large mulberry fields. The village was Nghi Tàm, a name now famous throughout the country for the flowers grown here. Nghi Tàm flowers in fact add to the beauty of Hồ Tây or the West Lake area in present-day Hà Nội. It is said that Nhà Hậu Lý in Vietnam was not only famous for its glorious victories in defence of the country against foreign invaders. It paid much attention to the development of agriculture and handicrafts. For long, the village of Tằm (or the village of silk cocoons) had been known for its handlooms. The story of this village goes as follows: Initially, there were only three basic kinds of trees grown here, ịẹ the peach, kumquat and chrysanthemum. Peach trees and their spring blossom have brought fame to this village. Originally, the cultivation of peach started in the village of Tằm, then spread to Nhật Tân. Young peach trees are carefully tended and allowed to blossom only on the Lunar New Year's Eve. Hanoians take the utmost care in the selection of their New Year branch of peach From the size to the form of the branch and the design of the pot, every tiny detail must be in harmony with the sentiment or philosophy that one wishes to express, in addition to matching with the interior decoration of the house. Kumquat is another species that spread from Tằm village to Tây Hồ. During tết, most families in Hà Nội, and now throughout the country, have their kumquat trees inside the home. Kumquat is used by Vietnamese to symbolise "talents" and "wealth" for the family White apricot blossoms called "Bạch mai" in Vietnamese are yet another scene-stealer in Nghi Tàm. The villagers of Nghi Tàm consider an apricot blossom as beautiful only when it has six white soft petals on a green calyx. They must resemble the swallow's wings in the spring days. There is also a kind of green apricot which is rare and valuable. Then there is "Song mai" or "Double apricot" since each flower gives two fruits. The apricot branch should be able to incorporate the spirit. After the flowering season, the branch starts to give fruit which are washed and put in a ceramic cask to prepare apricot wine for the following New Year's festival. Narcissus of various kinds are also cultivated in Nghi Tàm. The people here know the secret of making these flowers bloom at the required time as on New Year's Eve or on the wedding day etc. Each narcissus pot should have about 20-30 flowers blooming to the right degree to express the virginity of the bride. Along with these species of flowers, Nghi Tàm is also known for the chrysanthemum and camelia species it grows. But the concern now is that with the rapid urbanisation of the locality, will it continue to preserve this beautiful tradition?


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