The ancient capital of Hoa Lu is 13km from Ninh Binh Town, Ninh Binh Province. In 968, Dinh Bo Linh ascended to the throne and took the name of King Dinh Tien Hoang and reunified the country under the name of Dai Co Viet and Hoa Lu was its capital for 41 years (968-1009).
The mountains and sea combined to make Hoa Lu’s picturesque landscape. Hoa Lu lays in a flat valley surrounded by the Trang An lime stone mountains, which form a natural wall protecting the old citadel. The city’s northwest is bordered by the Hoang Long River, the tributaries of which run through the capital, cooling the weather within the city and serving as convenient waterways.
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 site to educate and protect children.
As the capital of the country for 41 years, Hoa Lu has many palaces, pagodas, tombs and pavilions that were built by different dynasties. One of the most popular pieces of architecture is the Bao Thien Tue Palace, which was plated with gold and silver. However many vestiges have been destroyed due to time and weather.
When King Ly Thai To moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long (now Hanoi) in 1010, two temples were built to dedicate to King Dinh Tien Hoang and his successor Le Dai Hanh. These two temples were first built in the 11th century and reconstructed in 1696.
Coming to Hoa Lu visitors can attend traditional cultural festivals here, and the most important and largest of them is the Truong Yen Festival, which is held on the 10th day of the third lunar month. The festival is in memory of the Kings of the Dinh and Le dynasties. The festival lasts for three days with many traditional games and martial arts, reflecting local residents’ legends.