HOAN KIEM LAKE
Legend claims in the mid-15th century Heaven sent Emperor Le Thai To (Le Loi) a magical sword which he used to drive the Chinese from Vietnam. After the war a giant golden turtle grabbed the sword and disappeared into the depths to restore the sword to its divine owners, inspiring the name Ho Hoan Kiem (Lake of the Restored Sword). Every morning at around 6am local residents practise traditional t’ai chi on the shore.
Ngoc Son Temple sits on an island in Hoan Kiem lake. The ramshackle Thap Rua (Turtle Tower), on an islet near the southern end, is topped with a red star and is often used as an emblem of Hanoi.