The Hoan Kiem Lake, which translates, quite dramatically, to ‘The Lake of the Restored Sword’, is known for its popularity amongst not only the locals, but amongst a rare breed of turtle which inhabit the lake, to the delight of the animal loving humans who visit the lake. The story behind the name Lake of the Restored Sword regards King Le Loi, whose trip on this lake saw him meeting a Golden Tortoise, who emerged from the lake and requested the return of the holy sword the Sky God had given the King to protect his country with. The Tortoise Tower sits at the center of the lake in honor of this legend.
On the lake you’ll also find the temple of Ngoc Son, dedicated to the Vietnam general Tran Hung Dao, a 13th century hero known for his efforts against the Mongolians. The legend of General Tran Hung Dao has him fighting alongside the genies La To, Nguyen Van Xuong and Tran Vu, the genies of medicine, literature and martial arts, respectively.