Hoa Lu cave

Hoa Lu caveHoa Lu cave (also called Thung Lau) is located in Gia Hung commune – Gia Vien district – Ninh Binh province. It is the national historical and cultural vestige. Hoa Lu is the first base of Dinh Bo Linh soldiers in the mission of unifying the nation in the 10th century. It is about 15km from the former imperial city of Hoa Lu and about 20km to the north of Ninh Binh city.

Although being called “cave”, this vestige is only an open-air valley, which is about 16 hectares, which is surrounded by arcing mountains. Hoa Lu cave is all covered by Limestone Mountains, which is very solid, and there is only one entrance at the height of 30m. The outer surrounding is Cut lagoon which is about 3km long and 500m wide. It plays the role of the natural moat to protect the valley and the way out to Day River.

Along with the Hoa Lu former imperial city, the other vestiges of Hoa Lu cave, La valley, and Dinh Bo Linh temple are all related to the life and career of Dinh Tien Hoang. Among them, La valley is already built. This is the temple honoring the mother of Dinh Bo Linh. Thung La (La valley) is right next to Thung Lau and settled among the sky-high limestone mountains. There are also many herbal trees which is good in curing the disease in this place, therefore, when the soldier of Dinh Bo Linh were injured, they were often carried here for treatment. They also said that Thung La is the magical jungle; therefore everybody often came here to light and incense before they come to the jungle. Thung La has the temple of mother of king Dinh and the mysterious woman who help him in defeating the enemy. The Hoa Lu cave is being built and restored to become the historical vestige and tourist destination.

There are some opinions that if in the previous time, the visitors come to Ninh Binh to see Hoa Lu former imperial capital, then come to Bich Dong cave or the stone cathedral of Phat Diem, nowadays, they often come to the route related to king Dinh and the destination is the hometown of king Dinh in Dai Huu village, and Hoa Lu cave which is the first base before coming to former imperial capital of Hoa Lu.

In the explanation of how this rough topography could be chosen as the base for starting the mission of king Dinh, the well-inform about the history of Ninh Binh said that this place has only one way in and out and it’s impossible to reach further. No one dare to come in due to there are many mysterious legends, so it’s suitable for keeping secret of military. Thung Lau and Thung La were used to hire an army of warlike soldiers and they will be brought into the frontier when it is needed.

In the middle of Hoa Lu, there is the small temple of King Dinh Tien Hoang and the God Nguyen Minh Khong. The temple was built in the former base of his “citadel”. According to the legend, he often arranged troops with his friend to playe the game of war when he was a kid.

There is a festival of Hoa Lu cave every spring. The festival is quite similar to the festival in former imperial capital of Hoa Lu but in smaller scale. The Hoa Lu cave festival is also organized in 8th of the 10th lunar month every year.