Hoàn Kiếm Lake, an iconic fresh water lake in the historical centre of Hanoi is to receive a general makeover, starting next Tuesday. The embankment will be revamped with dark green granite slabs but according to Phạm Tuấn Long, vice-chairman of Hoàn Kiếm District People's Committee, the area will mostly retain its present style.
The nearly 1.5 km-long embankment will first be patched and strengthened, and then the pavement circling the lake will be covered with square slabs and a new drainage system will be installed in the flowerbeds scattered around the lake.
The renovation has been in the works since 2010 but only gathered real momentum when cracks in the lake’s embankment began to appear in early 2019, with a sizeable chunk of concrete breaking off and falling into the lake. A series of public consultations followed and together with experts, district authorities finalized a restoration plan.
Meanwhile, Hanoi authorities have also been working to expand the pedestrian zone around Hoàn Kiếm Lake, in an effort to boost tourism in the city. Another 6 streets and 2 alleys are to be added to the current set of 16 streets where vehicles are not allowed between 7 p.m. on Friday and the early hours of Monday. With 18,000-25,000 people visiting the walking-only zone on an average day, the expansion is intended to reduce crowding and diversify the activities available for visitors.
Hồ Hoàn Kiếm, or Lake of the Returned Sword, is an 11.5-hectare lake and a magnet for tourists, with many other famous sights in the area. The lake owes its name to a rather baffling legend in which when Emperor Lê Lợi was boating on the lake in 1428, a Golden Turtle God surfaced to reclaim a sword of magical properties that the emperor had been using to fight off a Chinese invasion.