Hanoi, one of the most beautiful of the colonial Indochinese cities, is often the start or end point of a trip to Vietnam, and what a great welcome or farewell it is. Oozing with charm, Hanoi has gone through wholesale changes since Vietnam swung open its doors to tourism, but it remains true to its essential personality and is an amazing city to experience.
Sandwiched between the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Ho Chi Minh Museum is the small yet elegant One Pillar Pagoda. The Pagoda was originally built by Emperor Ly Thai Thong around 1049. It was destroyed by the French just before they quit Hanoi in 1954. The structure you can see today is a reconstruction.
One of the oldest sights in Hanoi is the Temple of Literature, called Van Mieu in Vietnamese. The "temple" was founded in 1070 by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong, and is dedicated to the Chinese philosopher Confucius. Six years later, Vietnam's first university was founded here to teach the children of royalty and aristocracy (generally called mandarins)
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