Hoan Kiem lake means “lake of the returned sword”. The story behind the name is a legend. In 1418, the Vietnamese emperor Le Loi fought a war against the Chinese. It wasn’t going too well for him so when he walked by the lake one day, he saw a giant tutrtle coming out of the water with a magic sword in its mouth. He took the sword and eventually defeated the Chinese army with it. When he was having his victory parade at the shores of Hoan Kiem, the turtle appeared again and demanded the sword back. Before he could do anything, the sword flew away from his hands to the tortoise’s mouth. It disappeared in the water. The emperor had a temple built which can still be seen today.
The lake is one of the major scenic spots in Hanoi, Vietnam and serves as a focal point for its public life as it’s located right in the middle of the Old Quarter. It is a large lake surrounded by urban landscape, roads, businesses and walkways.
This lake is a central gathering place in the center of the city. People come here to socialize, to talk, to do business, and to relax.. As early as pre dawn on any given day hundreds of people are exercising and have already started they're days here, you will see locals of all ages jogging and practicing tai chi. Later in the day, you will find grandparents wheeling kiddies in strollers, and young couples strolling around holding hands.
Here are some of the scenes that usually seen around the lake: