West Lake (Hồ Tây)

West Lake (Hồ Tây). Large lake (500 hectares in area) in the northwest of Hanoi, also called Hồ Đâm Đàm (Lake of Frogs) or Hồ Lãng Bạc (Lake of Foamy Waves). According to legend, the lake was created by a golden buffalo stamping the ground; the river that flows from the lake is. called Kim Ngưu (Gold Buffalo). Another legend holds that the lake once contained a fox demon that caused great loss to the people living nearby.

Many traditional craft villages surround the lake: flower growing in Yên Phụ and Nghi Tàm; silk worms and weaving in Nhật Tân; paper making in Quảng Bá and Bưởi. These villages have now been incorporated into Hanoi. Also near the lake are Kim Liên Pagoda, Trấn Quốc Pagoda and Quán Thánh Temple. During the Tây Sơn dynasty, Nguyễn Huy Lượng composed the poem Tụng Tây Hồ Phú, praising the beautiful landscape of the lake and the qualities of King Quang Trung. Phạm Thái, an anti- Tây Sơn poet, retorted with Chiến tụng Tây Hồ phú. The following is a well known poem about the lake: Gió dưa cành trúc la đà; tiếng chuông Trấn Vũ canh gà Thọ Xương; mịt mù khỏi tỏa ngàn sương; nhịp chày Yên Thái mặt gương Tây Hồ (the wind makes the bamboo tremble; the bells of Trấn Vũ ring, the roosters of Thọ Xương crow; the fog rises; the pounding of pestles in Yên Thái resounds across the mirrored surface of West Lake).

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