Located in the center of Hanoi, Ly Thai To Park has become a famous garden and a playground for locals to gather at the weekend. The park is an architectural space to celebrate the development history of Thang Long – Hanoi.
The park was built to commemorate the moving kingdom from Hoa Lu to Thang Long (Hanoi nowadays) of the Ly Dynasty. After becoming the King, Ly Thai To decided to move to the Hanoi area, and it became the capital of Vietnam officially.
- Who is Ly Thai To?
Ly Thai To’s original name was Ly Cong Uan, born in 974. He joined the court under the encouragement of a monk – Van Hanh. At the time, Buddhism played a vital role in Vietnam’s society. Therefore, the monk had a prominent influence in the court. Ly Cong Uan quickly advanced up his career under the support of the monk – Van Hanh. He was the first commoner to become the leading general of the capital. He was in charge of the siege of Hoa Lu – the capital of the Le Dynasty. He served under the Le Dynasty until 1009, when the last King of the Le Dynasty died.
Le Long Dinh, the fifth son of King Le Dai Hanh, defeated the other princes to inherit the crown. However, few people supported the Le Dynasty due to his brutal killing, especially when the legitimate heirs were too young to lead the country. Knowing it was the time, Ly Cong Uan, with the assistance of the monk – Van Hanh and his allies, the court agreed to let him ascend to the throne. This transition was the most peaceful change of dynasty in the country’s history.
2. The process of moving the Capital
After becoming the King, he changed his name to King Ly Thai To. At that moment, the country was in danger due to a severe political and socio-economic crisis, plus the threat of invasion from China. One day, when he was on a boat near Hanoi. There was a cloud shaped like the flying dragon. He believed it was God’s sign and could help the country develop. Thus, he moved the capital from Hoa Lu (Ninh Binh) to Dai La (Hanoi now) and named it Thang Long (Flying Dragon).
One of the reasons for moving was because of the Hoa Lu location. It was more appropriate for defense as it was surrounded by limestone mountains. However, it was challenging to develop the economy as the inconvenient traffic and far away from the river. The new area had many advantages for rice farming. Dai La was especially near the Red River Delta, it was a perfect region to develop the economy due to the transportation and trading.
In the autumn of 1010, King Ly Thai To officially moved the capital of the kingdom to Dai La, and since then, Thang Long – Ha Noi has become the political, economic, and culture of Vietnam.
To celebrate the 1000th year of Thang Long since the “Edict of the transfer of the capital.”, Ly Thai To Park was contributed to commemorate the King.
3. Ly Thai To Park – respect for history and the King
Standing in the middle of the park is a Ly Thai To statue. The statue is 10.35m and is made of bronze. It was placed on the top of a bunker built in 1945 by Japan to protect people from the allied bomb. After renovating the plaza, the octagonal house was kept intact concerning its heritage.
On October 7, 2004, the garden and statue were dedicated to celebrating the 995th and later 1000th year of Thang Long – Hanoi.
Throughout history, King Ly Thai To is considered one of the greatest kings due to his role in the establishment of Thang Long citadel, a land of thousands of years of civilizations and cultural center.
The park was renamed a particular park to tribute to the city’s history, and it has become a venue for many events in the city. Ly Thai To Park is a gathering place for locals to meet and spend time relaxing after a busy day.
4. An Ideal place for everyone now
In the morning, we can spot many middle-aged or elders exercising, such as doing yoga or “tai chi qian” along with many sports activities, dancing, or enjoying a peaceful morning and fresh atmosphere. Moreover, during the weekends, the area around Hoan Kiem Lake transforms into a pedestrian zone. The park is a “must-visited” location for not only locals but also tourists with many activities such as playing traditional games or outdoor activities. Sometimes, there are music events and festivals on special occasions.
For tourists, Ly Thai To Park is a perfect location for resting after visiting Hoan Kiem Lake, Old Quarter, The Historic St. Joseph’s Cathedral, etc. Moreover, tourists can feel the Hanoian vibe when watching the daily life in the park and listening to the sound of elders playing Xiangqi or Chess. What a beautiful day!