HANOI – In addition to the famous statue of Ly Thai To, not everyone knows that the western corner of Guom Lake also has a statue of King Le Thai To.
The statue of King Le Thai To is located in a multi-item architectural complex, at 16 Le Thai To street. The entrance gate is built of bricks in the style of three gates – four pillars close to the pavement. The work items are in harmony on the green campus. The small building and main architecture are hidden deep inside, out of sight, so few people know that this place has a statue of a national hero-king associated with the legend of Sword Lake.
The architectural complex commemorating King Le was erected in 1894 by the King of Northern Vietnam, to commemorate the king’s merits for defeating foreign invaders and gaining independence for the nation. The complex consists of 3 main items, arranged according to a Shinto axis, from the outside to the inside are the gate, the garden, the communal house (pictured) and the monument.
The communal house is open on four sides, in the form of an antique match. The small building has two roofs, decorated with dragons on the pillars and rooftops, with a heavenly lake at the top.
Right behind the communal house is the statue of King Le. The pillar is placed on a foundation level 0.8 m high, with three steps. The two sides of the three levels are stone statues of tigers.
The statue of King Le located in the innermost part has a Western-style pillar architecture with a statue placed on top of a stone pillar. The place where the statue was erected used to have a temple to worship King Le Thai To, but it no longer exists through historical changes.
As one of the oldest monuments in the capital, the statue of King Le is cast in bronze, about 1.2 m high, wearing a peaceful hat on the head, hanging at the four corners of the temple, wearing a long robe, and wearing a belt. The statue is small, but the lines are delicate. In particular, the statue of King Le in the position of returning a precious sword to the god Kim Quy is associated with the legend of Hoan Kiem Lake.
The base of the cylinder has a multi-level circular surface, and the body of the cylinder also has a circular plan that gradually tapers to the top; The top of the pillar is a square base that supports the statue. In front of the pillar, there is an altar and a stone censer. Behind the pillar is a screen separating Nam Huong communal house (with the main side facing Hang Trong street).
At the site of the relic, there is a flock of dozens of free-living pigeons, making the space even more relaxed and peaceful.
Initially, the Nguyen Dynasty in Hanoi preserved and smoked the relic, but later this place was abandoned since the French government abolished the Nha Kinh comb. In July 1902, a storm damaged the statue. In 1924, the government built fences and iron gates. In August 1964, the US bombed the North, and the memorial area for King Le was closed until 1998. In 1999, the government embellished the monument and opened it for free to visit.
Today, the monument – the memorial area for King Le, along with Nam Huong communal house – the ancient communal house on the same campus, is an important relic of the Sword Lake scenic complex.