Hoa Lu was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. It witnessed many important historical events in the early days: the union of Vietnam after the rebellion of 12 warlords, the war with China’s Southern Han Dynasty, and the formation of Hanoi.
Visiting Hoa Lu, you can explore several historical remarks, including the architectural system of worship, walls, citadel, caves, and other magnificent architecture.
About Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh
Hoa Lu became the capital and the economic, political, and cultural center of Dai Co Viet (an old name of Vietnam) in the 10th century.
This capital city existed for 42 years (968 – 1010). It was associated with three dynasties, the Dinh Dynasty (founded by Dinh Tien Hoang) and the Tien Le Dynasty (founded by Le Dai Hanh), and Ly Dynasty.
Following the demise of the Le Dynasty, in 1010, Ly Cong Uan, the founder of the Ly Dynasty, moved the capital to Thang Long (now Hanoi), and Hoa Lu became the “ancient capital.”
The ancient capital Hoa Lu was about 300 hectares wide, consisting of Thanh Ngoai, Thanh Noi, and Thanh Nam, surrounded by a series of arched stone and majestic landscapes.
Entrance fee: 20,000 VND
How to get to Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh
Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh is a convenient spot from Phong Nha or Hue to Hanoi. Or, if you are already in Hanoi, you can easily get to Ninh Binh as it’s only 90km south of the city.
We love our stay at Trang An retreat, a lovely resort surrounded by mountains. Although its location is a bit far from the center, we love its serene and peaceful atmosphere. Rooms are clean and spacious, and the staff is helpful.
Best time to visit Hoa Lu
March to May is a lovely time to visit Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh. This time is the dry season, and the weather is usually mild and still relatively cool.
Also, if you’d like to combine your trip with other locations, visiting Hoa Lu at the end of May is a great choice to see the rice season.
Furthermore, after the Lunar New Year is the festive season. If you want to experience the bustling and crowded atmosphere of this festival, visit it in spring.
Although the old Hoa Lu citadel no longer exists, relics associated with the three dynasties Dinh, Le, and Ly are still intact. For example, you can see the temple of Dinh Tien Hoang, the temple of King Le Dai Hanh, the vestiges of East, North, and South gates.
The most important places to visit here are the two temples of Dinh Tien Hoang Emperor and the Le Dai Hanh Emperor.
King Dinh temple
King Dinh temple was built on the main hall of the capital city of Hoa Lu, with a total area of about 3 acres in the North. This is the only place in Vietnam that worships King Dinh Tien Hoang, his parents, sons, and generals of the Dinh dynasty.
There is Ma Yen mountain in front of the temple, and behind the temple is Du mountain range. The main architecture of the temple includes the North Gate, the dragon yard, Khai Thanh’s house, the front house, and the garden.
King Le temple
King Le temple is located about 500 meters from King Dinh Temple, in the East citadel. This temple has a smaller scale than King Dinh Temple.