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Traces of Red River civilization in Thang Long culture

The Red River has played a critical role in the historical and cultural life of Hanoi, Vietnam’s 1000-year-old capital. 

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The river’s main stream flows through Hanoi and its branches spread out to form a fertile delta: the Red River Delta.

The Red River appears in many historical records and folklore traditions. Le Minh, a researcher with the Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies (VICAS), said "Wet rice cultivation has played an important role in world history.

When talking about wet rice cultivation, people often think of deltas formed by rivers like the Tigris and the Euphrates in the Middle East, the Ganges in India, and the Nile in Egypt. The Red River provided water and silt for Vietnam’s northern delta, one of the earliest cradles of wet rice civilization."  

The Red River has left its imprints on multiple regions, including the former Thang Long imperial citadel, now Hanoi.

"The Red River is the cradle of both Vietnam’s wet rice civilization and Vietnamese culture. Along the Red River are numerous temples, pagodas, shrines, and relics, including a shrine dedicated to the Trung sisters in Hanoi’s Me Linh district, and the Co Loa citadel built around the 3rd century.

Hanoi’s Thang Long imperial citadel is intimately associated with the Red River. In a famous tale King Ly Thai To picked a spot named Dai La as his capital and renamed it Thang Long (literally Ascending Dragon) after seeing a golden dragon soar into the sky while his royal boat was docked in the Red River," said Mr. Minh.

9 rivers criss-cross Hanoi – the Red, Da, Duong, Ca Lo, Cau, To Lich, Nhue, Day, and Tich.

Researcher Le Minh said, "The Red River is the largest river running through Hanoi. It provides rice and other food to the city’s residents and inspires their their traditional singing, dancing and other cultural forms."

Most of Hanoi’s old architectural works were built close to the water. The growing city has incorporated many ancient craft villages.

Nguyen Thi Tra, a student at Hanoi’s Culture University, said "During my study and research of cultures, I have found the Red River a living witness of Hanoi culture that has enriched the city’s culture in many ways.

Although Vietnam has adopted many cultural lifestyles from abroad, Hanoi and its unique culture remain intact and should be preserved for future generations." VOV

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