05/10/2009 | 11:05:54

The Ly Dynasty (1010-1225)

The Dinh and the Le dynasties had completed their glorious mission of consolidating national independence and bringing the country to reunion. The role as temporary capital played by Hoa Lu also came to an end. The Ngo, Dinh, Le dynasties had given rise to the development of an economy and culture. In 1009, Ly Cong Uan came to power, starting a new period in the history of the nation.

Thanks to his excellent political forethought he discovered that Dai La (ancient Hanoi) had a strategic position. After a boating excursion on Cai River, he wrote a proclamation for shifting the capital.

In July 1010, he decided to shift his capital. One day, the King escorted by his mandarins started his journey from Hoa Lu to Dai La. On arrival, he changed the old name of the city into Thang Long (Soaring Dragon).

Thang Long was bordered by 3 rivers: the Red River to the east, the To river to the north and west, and the Kim Nguu river to the south. The Imperial (Royal) City – Hoang Thanh near West Lake was the seat of the Court and contained many offices, houses and palaces of the imperial officials. Surrounding the area was a wall of bricks. The rest of the capital consisted of the common people's residential areas (called civil areas: Dan su) which were divided into two sections: agricultural and handicraft communes.

Both, the Hoang Thanh and the Dan su, were protected by dykes and canals connected to the above mentioned rivers. It was during the hundred years of being a capital that Thang Long was built into the largest political, economic and cultural centre of the whole nation. Ramparts and dykes, the feudal, cultural and religious architecture created a specific beauty for the capital.

In Thang Long, the Ly's rule heralded a period of considerable national development and large scale defense, opening the era of civilised Dai Viet in Vietnam history. Four masterpieces, Chuong Quy Dien (Quy Dien Bell), Thap Bao Thien (Bao Thien Tower), Chua Quynh Lam (Quynh Lam Pagoda with a thousand Buddha statues), Vac Pho Minh (Pho Minh Cauldron), were designed and built at this time. The Ly dynasty had reigned for 215 years (with nine emperors) in Thang Long./.

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