Guidebook The 1000-year-old royal capital


The 1000-year-old royal capital

“An excellent capital for a royal dynasty for ten thousand generations.” That's what King Ly Thai To, the first king of the Ly Dynasty, said in 1010 when he picked what became present-day Hanoi as the capital for a country that had defeated the Tang Dynasty less than a century before, writes The New York Times. “It is situated at the very heart of our country,” the king declared in Edict on the Transfer of the Capital. Founded over 1,000 years ago “inside a crook of the tea-coloured Red river,” Hanoi was the “seat of Vietnam’s imperial power until the late 18th century.” Today, its Old Quarter is the “immersion point” for most travellers, with its “labyrinth of ancient streets, which were once inhabited by traders serving the nearby imperial citadel.”

Hanoi’s inhabitants can be traced back to around 3000 BC, explains City Pass Guide. That’s because “one of the first known settlements” is said to be the Co Loa Citadel (est. 257 BC), located about 20 km north of today’s Hanoi -- “technically, therefore, when Hanoi took to the streets to celebrate its thousandth anniversary in 2010, it should have been celebrating its 4000 years of existence.”

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