Guidebook Pagodas, temples, cathedrals and citadels

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Pagodas, temples, cathedrals and citadels

One Pillar Pagoda “is one of the most recognisable symbols of Hanoi … it’s a modest, wooden sanctuary set on, naturally, one concrete pillar, over a pond that blooms with lotus blossoms during summer … the shrine is dedicated to Quan Am, the Goddess of Mercy, and is designed to look like a lotus, a symbol of enlightenment in Buddhism.” (Travelfish)  

The Ambassador’s Pagoda: “The official centre of Mahayana Buddhism in Hanoi, it is one of the most popular pagodas in the city, attracting hundreds of followers, especially during important Buddhist holidays … many nuns and monks are in attendance … a small shop by the entrance sells Buddhist paraphernalia and ritualistic items.” (Travel DK)

Quan Thanh Temple: “At the heart of the main shrine is an impressive bronze statue depicting Huyen Thien Tran Vu (usually shortened to Tran Vu and transliterated as Xuan Wu), one the higher-ranking Taoist deities and often known as the God of the North … he’s also of particularly revered by martial artists -- the reason that martial arts classes are hosted at the temple … the statue was cast in 1677, stands 13 feet high and weighs in at nearly 4 tons.” (Have Camera Will Travel)  

St Joseph’s Cathedral: “Hanoi’s main Catholic cathedral, the beautifully faded St Joseph’s, sits at the head of one the city’s most attractive streets … built in the early days of the colony at the expense of a revered pagoda that was demolished in the name of France's mission civilisatrice, St Joseph’s opened its doors to worshippers in 1886.” (Rusty Compass)  

Hai Ba Trung Temple: “Two kilometres south of Hoan Kiem Lake, this temple was founded in 1142 … a statue shows the two Trung sisters (from the 1st century AD) kneeling with their arms raised in the air … some say the statue shows the sisters, who had been proclaimed the queens of the Vietnamese, about to dive into a river … they are said to have drowned themselves rather than surrender in the wake of their defeat at the hands of the Chinese.” (Lonely Planet)

Thang Long Imperial Citadel: “Built in the 11th century by the Ly Viet Dynasty, marking the independence of the Dai Viet … it was constructed on the remains of a Chinese fortress dating from the 7th century, on drained land reclaimed from the Red River Delta in Hanoi … it was the centre of regional political power for almost 13 centuries without interruption … the Imperial Citadel buildings and the remains in the 18 Hoang Dieu Archaeological Site reflect a unique South-East Asian culture specific to the lower Red River Valley.” (UNESCO)  

Tay Ho Pagoda: “One of the most popular and important places of worship in Hanoi, Tay Ho Temple trumps even Tran Quoc for its enviable lakeside position … whereas pagodas are for Buddhists, Phu Ta Ho is dedicated to the Mother Goddesses and the Jade Emperor and is therefore most correctly referred to as a palace, although laypeople would call it a temple.” (Travelfish)  

Ngoc Son Temple: “On a small island at the lake’s northern end sits the early 18th century Ngoc Son Temple … the temple commemorates another military hero, Tran Hung Dao and another skirmish with the Chinese -- this one in the 13th century … the views across the lake from Legend's beer are also great (the beer isn't bad either).” (Rusty Compass)

Tran Quoc Pagoda: “The oldest of its kind in Hanoi, dating back to the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Ly Nam De Dynasty (544 - 548) … although it’s now set on an islet within West Lake, the pagoda was originally located on banks of Red River before it’s relocated in 1615 due to the river’s encroachment … surrounded by lush greenery, Tran Quoc Pagoda was a favourite amongst the kings and royal families for festivals, full moons, and Tet Festival.” (Vietnam Guide)

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