What to see
The small park is a charming spot across the famous HoanKiem Lake at the heart of Hanoi. It is more than a park but also a memorial to the first king of the Ly dynasty who had moved his seat of power to Hanoi thus turning it from a small county to Vietnam’s powerful capital.
Ly Thai To was born in 974. He joined the court later under the patronage of a powerful monk-Van Hanh. At the time, Buddhism was at its peak in Vietnam ‘society. Thus, the monk was a prominent power broker in the court. With the political capital and his innate charm, Ly Thai To quickly advanced up in his career ladder. He had been the first commoner to become the leading general of the capital. Ly was in charge of the siege of Hoa Lu- the then capital.
In 1009, the King that Ly had served suddenly died while his popularity had been long gone due to his brutal killing. All of the legitimate heirs were too young to inherit the throne. Taking this opportunity, Ly collected the support from his allies which include the powerful monk-Van Hanh. Then, the whole court issued the consensus of Ly’s inheritance to the throne. The event was rather once in a blue moon. As it has been the first time that such power transition did not cost any blood or any arrows.
In legend, Ly was taking a boat cruise in the river near Hanoi. There he saw a cloud in the shape of a flying dragon. Thus, he decided to move his seat to Hanoi naming it the capital of flying dragon. The legend must have been composed in the convenience of the king. Actually, he had had the plan to move all the time to avoid unnecessary nostalgia about the last dynasty. Furthermore, the old capital was surrounded by mountains providing a perfect defense to the central power during the lords’ war. Ly had defeated them all. Thus he sought out for a well-connected hub of power and wealth. That was why Hanoi had been chosen.
Nowadays, the statute of Ly stands tall casting a view on the eternal green of Ho Guom. The park becomes a spot for tourists to peek into Hanoians’ life.