Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Uncle Ho, as he's called there, may have lived simply in life, but despite his wish to be cremated and his ashes scattered, he has instead been enshrined in this very fascist monument, his body embalmed like Lenin's and open to view several hours each day. In fact, his body was recently sent back to Moscow for a "tune-up!"

Nearby is the wonderful One-Pillar Pagoda, a unique pagoda built originally in 1049 under the Ly dynasty in the shape of a lotus blooming on its stem, based on a dream of King Ly Thai Tong (1028- 1054)
Below is a dragon railing, leading up to a statue of Ly Cong Uan, the first King of the Ly Dynasty (1010 - 1225), who made the strategic determination to move the capital city of Viet Nam from Hoa Lu (110 km south of Ha Noi) to Dai La (the former name of Ha Noi). Hoa Lu was surounded by mountains; although that had made it easy to defend, it was inconvenient for the development of the economy and transportation. Ly Cong Uan renamed it Thang Long, which is now Ha Noi.

Finally, here's the Presidential Palace, a strictly ceremonial building today

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