The capital of Vietnam, more than a thousand years ago

We all know that Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, and it has been a capital for literally  a thousand years under its former name Thang Long. But before Thang Long, the capital of Vietnam was Hoa Lu in the northern Binh Dinh Province. The Vietnam News Service has a special feature on this ancient capital, which was used by the Dinh and the Early Le Dynasty.

Ancient capital offers colourful history lessons of two dynasties [Link no longer active]
Vietnam News, 15 May 2009

Hoa Lu means “Flowers of Reeds” and was the capital city of the Dinh dynasty (968-980) and the Tien Le (Early-Le) dynasty (980-1009). The Ly dynasty (1010-1225) was also formed from this capital city.

Arriving at the ancient capital, tourists always visit the temple of King Dinh Tien Hoang (Dinh Bo Linh), who built up Hoa Lu as the capital and set up the first centralised feudal State in Viet Nam, as well as the temple of the first king of the Tien Le dynasty, King Le Dai Hanh (Le Hoan).

Hoa Lu as a capital city existed for only 41 years, from 968 to 1009, during which time the first 12 years belonged to the Dinh Dynasty. Dinh Bo Linh was crowned as King Dinh Tien Hoang and he named the country Dai Co Viet (Great Viet). The next 29 years were ruled by the Tien Le Dynasty.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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