I walked to Ðen Hai Ba Trung today (Ðen = Temple). I live in Hai Ba Trung District in Ha Noi and have heard the story of these sisters many times, so I wanted to visit their temple. It’s not very far from my place, though I still managed to get lost. It’s those darned shape-shifting streets, I tell ya. Anyway, I found it and, as best as I can gather, here’s the basic story:
In 111 BCE, the Chinese began to impose political control over north Viet Nam. Trung Trac and Trung Nhi were the daughters of a Vietnamese military general living near Ha Noi. In 39 CE, Trung Trac’s husband, protested a tax hike and was executed by the Chinese. Trung Trac rallied men and women (including her sister), launching a rebellion against the Chinese and, over a period of 3 years, drove them from Vietnam. The Trung sisters rode elephants at the head of their troops. In 40 CE, Trung Trac became queen of northern Viet Nam, with her sister as advisor. In 43 CE, their army was defeated by the much larger Chinese army. Legend has it that the sisters threw themselves into a river to commit suicide rather than admit defeat to the Chinese. To this day the Vietnamese remember and honor the Trung sisters for their heroic and brave struggle for Viet Nam’s independence.
…..along with these cute little guys!
Unfortunately, the temple wasn’t open. The grounds were, but I couldn’t walk inside. Oh, well….I still got a few nice shots…..
Another stelae! →
….and in case you missed Joy’s comment on why turtles are at the bottom of the stelae….
….“….the turtle (“quy”) is one of the nation’s four holy creatures. The others are the dragon (“long”), the unicorn (“ly”) and the phoenix (“phuong”). The turtle is a symbol of longevity…….” Thanks again, Joy!
Across the street from the temple is this small lake. There are lots of lakes and ponds in Ha Noi.