About 100 kilometers from Hanoi, the ancient capital of Hoa Lu is the capital of former Dai Co Viet country over 10 centuries ago. Ma Yen Son Mountain stood on the mountain where the tomb of King Dinh is located, you can see the ancient capital in the eye. The old imperial capital stretches over 300 hectares of wide region of the village Chi Phong, Yen Thanh, Yen Thuong of Truong Yen commune, Hoa Lu district.
The undulating limestone mountains, Hoang Long River winding beside the box plots paddy fields like yellow checkerboard. Hoang Long River is next to Kiep Linh Mountain (mountain of swords). This mountain is called Cot Co nowadays. This is the location of the flag of Dai Co Viet country. There is Muoi Cave and Tien Cave where are the food storages and treasure. There is the Thien Ton cave which is used to captured big cats to treat sinners, which is Ao Giai – where the king adopted Giai (a large freshwater turtle species, living in deep valley) to throw sinners into the pond to the predatory.
The citadel formerly had three regions: the Foreign, the Noi citadel and Nam citadel. Adventuring the Ngoai citadel, visitors will be in Yen Thanh village, Truong Yen commune.
There are two monuments, which are temples of King Dinh, and King Le temple, which was built in the 17th century with the art of stone and woodcarving. The road to the temples of King Dinh is under the shade of flamboyant trees along the roadsides.
It is called Hoa Lu, which was the capital city and the temple stone of King Dinh and King Le, which also use many materials from stone. At the temple, visitors will find stone pylons with the sentences mean: “The Dai Co Viet is equal to the Xiong country in Khai Bao time; Hoa Lu was the capital of Dai Co Viet as well as the capital of Han is Trang An.”
Entering the temple ground, visitors will see the dragon floor, which is made from stones and two young lions also carved from green stone monolith. In the harem, guests will find the worship of King Dinh, which is casted from bronze and mounted on green rock crystal.
King Le temple is 50 m from temple of King Dinh, and has the same structure as that. The temple here is hidden in green leaves of the tree.
About 200m from the king Le, Nhat Tru Pagoda was built in the time of King Le Dai Hanh. There are stone pillars in front of the pagoda, in octagon shape which is 4.16 m high, carved with the texts Shurangama made by the king to offer the Buddha .
There are currently Buddha Temple worship Kim’s third princess of King Dinh Tien Hoang who jumped into the well herself instead of being counterproductive against his father and with her husband.
In the old Ngoai citadel, there are still many other ancient temples, which were built during the Dinh as Dia Pagoda, Thap Pagoda, Ba Ngo Pagoda. The Noi Citadel is a wider area, which is used for children rising and feed storage.
If you have been to Ninh Binh, do not forget to take a boat to visit Tam Coc – Bich Dong, being considered the Halong Bay on land, or visit Van Long wild lagoon that is pristine nature reserve with many rare animals.