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Since the founding of the country, Ha Noi has been a critical area. For more than a thousand years, Ha Noi was the centre of all resistance movements against northern aggressors to secure the independence of the Vietnamese nation.
Twenty-three centuries ago, Co Loa (now part of Dong Anh District) was the capital of Thuc An Duong Vuong's country of Au Lac. With a favorable topography and position at the centre of the Red River Delta, Ha Noi progressively developed into a major settlement. In the fall of 1010, Ly Cong Uan (the founder of the Ly Dynasty) moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Dai La Citadel*.
One day, Emperor Ly saw a golden dragon emerging from the waters of the Red River, near what is now Ha Noi. Interpreting this fact as a good omen, the Emperor ordered that the name of Dai La be changed to Thang Long (ascending dragon). The year 1010 was a historic year for Ha Noi as well as for the whole country.
Throughout the Ly, Tran and Le Dynasties, Thang Long developed into a strong capital with hundreds of palaces, royal residences, magnificent pagodas and temples. Buddhism and Confucianism developed strongly. The Temple of Literature-Royal College (Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam), Viet Nam's first University, was built (1076) and thousands of talented scholars came here for training. Thang Long witnessed many glorious victories in the resistance against aggressors; the most symbolic of which were the three successive victories against the Nguyen-Mong army in 1258,1285, and 1288.
Despite its changing names (Thang Long, Dong Do, Dong Kinh, and Ha Noi (1831), the capital has been the heart of the country for almost a thousand years.
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