Hoan Kiem Lake, or the Lake of the Restored Sword, is located directly in the centre of Hanoi. The name is derived from a legend involving Emperor Le Thai To, in which he came across a giant tortoise while cruising on the lake. The tortoise took his sword that had secured victory against the Chinese aggressors of the Minh Dynasty. The emperor named the lake after this episode.
The tortoises of Hoan Kiem lake: Fact or Fiction?
Unbelievably, there are tortoises in the mysterious and murky waters of Hoan Kiem Lake.
on rare occasions, and bringing luck to anyone fortunate enough to see
one, the Sword Lake tortoise Rafetus leloii is not just your common
garden-variety tortoise - it is a huge animal. A specimen that died in
1968 weighed in at 250kg and was 2.1m long! Its preserved remain: are
on show in the Ngoc Son Temple complex, together with a photo taken of
a tortoise that appeared in the take in 2000. No-one is sure how many
there still are, or how they have survived in this urban setting.
Are these really the lake-dwelling descendants
of the golden tortoise of Le Loi? Or are they safeguarded in enclosures
elsewhere and transported to the lake from time to time, where their
occasional appearance is simpiy an orchestrated ploy to keep the legend
of the lake alive?
Those ripples on the lake surface will never seem so innocenl again.
morning, the surrounding park fills with locals who arrive to exercise
and play badminton. By the way, there still are a few tortoises who
call this area home.
Hoan Kiem was already considered the most beautiful lake in Hanoi.