Hoan Kiem Lake is located in the center of Hanoi. Hoan Kiem Lake also called Lake of the Restored Sword. The name Lake of the Restored Sword is derived from a legend. After ten years of hard fighting (1418 - 1428), the Lam Son insurrectionists led by Le Loi swept the foreign invaders out of the country of Dai Viet (Great Viet), ending the Ming's 20-year domination over the Viet people. Le Loi became a national hero, proclaiming himself kings, called Le Thai To and establishing his capital in Thang Long.
The Sword Lake is not only a historical site but also a beauty-spot of the capital. When visiting Hanoi, Ludemis, a Greek poet, exclaimed: The Sword Lake - An emerald jewel set in the heart of the city, With the Red River as a silk ribbon around. It is said that when visiting Hanoi, if the visitor does not see the Sword Lake, then they would not have actually been in Hanoi. The lake is an endless topic and inspiration for painters, poets, writers, music composers, etc, and innumerable works about the lake have been produced.
The Sword Lake is really an emerald jewel of Hanoi. For generations, the Vietnamese believed that deep in the green water of the Sword Lake, there is a sacred sword of their ancestors, which is carefully safeguarded by the golden tortoise. When the weather changes, the tortoise emerges on the water surface to take a sun bath, seeming to prove his existence and remind the young generation of their national history of defending their country from foreign invaders.