Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The imperial city of Lê dynasty

Lam Kinh is a historic site in Tho Xuan district, Thanh Hoa province, 200km form Hanoi in the Southwest. It’s a wonderland with rivers and mountains. In the first reign of Le dynasty, Lam Kinh was seen as the second capital of Vietnam. After historical changes and events, palaces, royal temples… now only remain in relics. Untouched by time now stand only the stone-monument Vinh Lang (stele), the tomb of King Le Thai To, the tomb and stele of King Le Hien Tong.
Lam Kinh citadel
The 10-year resistance led by Le Loi was ended in victory. On 15th of January in 1428 (Year of Monkey), Le Loi was crowned as Emperor in Dong Kinh, royal name Thuan Thien, the first and stationed in Dong Kinh (Thang Long – Hanoi today). Simultaneously, he had a second royal city built in Lam Son (his homeland) and called it Lam Kinh, also known as Tay Kinh.

Just 100m from the front door, there are still relics of the 6m-wide gate and two walls to the sides of Ngoc river. The citadel-foundation is 1.08m thick. 10m from the gate inside, there’s a man-made river, 19m wide. The river is sourced from Tay Ho until Lam Kinh palace. Across the river is an arrow-shaped brige Tien Loan Kieu or Bach Kieu (White brige) with a house on (thuong gia ha kieu). 50m from the brige, there’s an old well, in rectangular (3.5m long, 30m large) with 4 walls built of stone. The well is never dry and the water is very clear.

The tomb of King Le Thai To looks quite modest built on a large area shahed by old trees and plants. The head of the tomb is on the mountain while the side looks to the river. Stud-animals and mandarines were made of stone in small sizes that make the scene solemn but not powerful.

Visitors to Lam King seem to be back to the sacred land where the later Le was born and prosperous and we seem to be hearing the battle sounds of drums in the first days of the resistance. Almost architectural projects were destroyed except the stele-house and the tombs of Kings and Queens remain untouched. Deep in the ground, there are still relics of palaces, temples… and overall, it’s the fighting spirit of Lam Kinh that still lives in the hearts and souls of the Vietnamese.

Lam Kinh historic palace is being upgraded and rebuilt to preserve the traditional culture and architectural of Vietnam in the 15th century, to restore Tay Kinh as a destination for visitors at home and abroad.

                                                                       KIỀU HƯNG

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