This is the “political centre of Vietnam,” explains Wikitravel. It houses the national assembly building, president's palace, Ho Chi Minh mausoleum and most embassies, as well as the One-Pillar Pagoda and the “recently discovered” Thang Long Citadel. On its eastern zone is the French Quarter “with large shady boulevards,” and its northeastern part surrounds the Truc Bach lake “where John McCain's plane was shot down.” The western section is “mostly residential with a large number of new skyscrapers around the Japanese Embassy on Lieu Giai street.” Then there’s Ba Dinh Square, where Ho Chi Minh read Vietnam's Declaration of Independence, “is a place of tranquility and the largest square in Vietnam,” says Maze Vietnam. It’s where iimportant events like Independence Da celebrations happen, and just behind the square is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
It’s where the Ly kings “established their Imperial City in the eleventh century,” says Rough Guides. The “venerable” Temple of Literature and “picturesque” One Pillar Pagoda both date from this time, “but nothing else remains of the Ly kings’ vermilion palaces, whose last vestiges were cleared in the late nineteenth century to accommodate an expanding French administration.”