Photographer's Note


(Ho Hoan Kiem or Ho Guom). The spiritual, legendary, and social heart of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake, the Lake of the Restored Sword, is one of the most enchanting spots in the city. In the early morning mist locals come to the lakeshore to swing their arms and legs in exercise, play badminton, and practice tai chi. The lake serves as a gathering point and performance venue during major festivals such as Tet and for holidays like National Day, but it's also a relaxing lunchtime escape or evening rendezvous for friends and lovers. Vietnamese of all ages delight in recounting the legend of how the Lake of the Restored Sword got its name: 15th-century war hero Le Loi used a magic golden sword from heaven to vanquish Chinese invaders. While Le Loi was boating on the lake in celebration of his successful martial exploits, a gigantic tortoise rose from the depths and seized the blade, restoring it to its heavenly owner. The legend may owe some of its universal popularity to the real turtles still living in the lake. The apparently unique species, known as Rafetus swimhoei, are a city favorite -- some estimate they're the largest freshwater turtles on earth, but no one knows for sure. Huge crowds gather at the water's edge whenever one of these near-mythical creatures comes up for air, which herpetologists (yes, they're the reptile experts) say is happening with increasing frequency as the lake becomes more polluted.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Guy Tomer (Just-A-Guy) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 87 W: 32 N: 41] (339)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2007-01-13
  • Categories: Nature
  • Exposure: f/4, 1/125 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2007-02-17 11:26
Viewed: 1773
Points: 6
  • None
Additional Photos by Guy Tomer (Just-A-Guy) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 87 W: 32 N: 41] (339)
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