Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the returned sword) is located at the heart of Hanoi and it is a historical lake and one of major scenic spots in the city.
According to the legend, Emperor Le Loi was boating on the lake when his magic sword, Heaven's Will, was grabbed by a turtle who quickly disappeared into the depths. All attempts to find either the sword or the turtle failed. Loi concluded that the Golden Turtle God had come to reclaim the sword that it had given Loi some time earlier, during his revolt against the Chinese Ming Dynasty. Loi renamed the lake to commemorate this event, it was formerly known as Luc Thuy meaning “Green Water”. The Turtle Tower standing on a small island near the centre of lake is linked to the legend.
Large soft-shell turtles, either of the species Rafetus swinhoei or a separate species named Rafetus leloii in honor of the emperor, have been sighted in the lake. The species is critically endangered and the number of individuals in the lake is unclear. Near the northern shore of the lake lies Jade Island on which the Temple of the Jade Mountain (Ngoc Son Temple) stands. The temple was erected in the 18th century. It honors the 13th-century military leader Tran Hung Dao who distinguished himself in the fight against the Yuan Dynasty, Van Xuong, a scholar and Nguyen Van Sieu, a Confucian master and famous writer in charge of repairs made to the temple in 1864. Jade Island is connected to the shore by the wooden red-painted The Huc Bridge.