Area: 1,392.4 sq. km.
Population: 922.6 thousand habitants (2006)
Capital: Ninh Binh City
Administrative divisions:
- Town: Tam Diep.
- Districts: Nho Quan, Gia Vien, Hoa Lu, Yen Mo, Yen Khanh, Kim Son.
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Muong, Thai, Tay.

 

 
   

 

   

Geography (Click here to see location)
Situated on the Red River Delta, Ninh Binh separates the North and the Central Vietnam by Tam Diep Mountain Range. It is surrounded by Hoa Binh, Ha Nam provinces on the north, Nam Dinh Province on the east and Thanh Hoa on the west and the south.

Climate

Ninh Binh's topography is divided clearly into 3 parts: the mountainous area in the west and northwest; the delta and coastal area in the east and south.
Ninh Binh has Day, Van Sang rivers, and Non Nuoc, Canh Dieu mountains. Annual average temperature is 23.40

Tourism
In Ninh Binh, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital (in Truong Yen Commune, Hoa Lu District now) was chosen as the first capital of Vietnam feudal centralism regime and the Dai Co Viet's political, economic and cultural centre with the name of Kings Dinh Tien Hoang, Le Dai Hanh and Ly Thai To in 10th century. In 1010, King Ly Thai To moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long (Hanoi now), opening a new era for Vietnamese people.
Ninh Binh owns beautiful Tam Coc, Bich Dong, Dich Long, Hoa Son, Tien caves, Van Trinh Grotto and other special landscapes following:
Cuc Phuong National Park is home of varies of strange flora and fauna. Especially it is enjoyable to touch the thousand-year-old cho xanh (parashrea stellata) and sau (Dracontomelum Duperranum or Dancorra Edulis)
trees, 50-70m high. The park is also suitable to watch birds, butterflies and orchid flowers.
Phat Diem Cathedral is a solemn and interesting architectural complex, reflecting the skilful and excellent stone carving art of the Vietnamese workers.
Ninh Binh's people have created such famous and traditional products
as Kim Son's fine arts, Hoa Lu's high-class embroidery, hanger products and rocky sculpture products for export, Gia Vien's rattan and bamboo knitting products, etc.

Transportation
Located 90km far from Hanoi, Ninh Binh has convenient waterway and road networks of transportation. The Reunification Express Train from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City stops at Ninh Binh Town. National Highway No.10 connects to Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa provinces and National Highway No.12B links to Hoa Binh Province

 

   

 

   
 

 

Bai Dinh Pagoda

Location: Bai Dinh Pagoda is located in Gia Sinh Commune, Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province, 12 km from Ninh Binh City, 5 km from Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, close to Trang An Tourism Area and 95 km south of Hanoi.
Characteristics: Covering a large area of 700ha, it is the largest pagoda complex in Vietnam with many records

 

 
   

 

   

 

From the main entrance, the pagoda's magnificent three-door gate is the biggest of its kind in Vietnam, built with 550 tonnes of iron wood. The gate is flanked by two 5.5m-high solid bronze guard statues (Ho Phap), weighing 12 tonnes each and four pillars tower over the entrance is 13.85m in height and 0.5m in diameter each. Around the gate are eight smaller bronze statues of Kim Cuong angels, each weighing 8 tonnes
After walking along the corridor of about 1 kilometer where 500 white-stone Arhat statues
are placed two sides, there will be the bell tower with the largest bronze 36-ton bell that is hanging here. Each Arhat statue, 2-2.5m in high, 2-2.5 tonnes in weight, is carved from monolithic stone, need one month for completion and different from each other.
Going up is the 800sq.m Kwan Yin Sanctum - a wooden one-layer-roof building with five main chambers and two side chambers. In the centre of the sanctum is the stunning 10m-high bronze statue of Kwan Yin with a thousand eyes and hands. This 40-tonne statue
is considered as the biggest Kwan Yin statue in Vietnam.
The Phap Chu Sanctum - an imposing imitation wooden two-layer-curve-roof building - where a 10m-high bronze statue of Lord
Buddha sits on his lotus throne situated. This 100-tonne statue has been recognized as the tallest and heaviest bronze depiction of Lord Buddha in the country in 2006 by the Vietnam Guinness Book of Records (Vietbook).
The Tam The Sanctum is located on a high hill at 76m above sea level. This is a majestic, grandiose building with three-layer-curve-roof style and an area of 3000 square meter where three bronze statues represent the past, present and future weighing 50 tonnes each placed.
Far from the large site about 2km is the place where the old Bai Dinh Pagoda located. Almost of all pilgrims and travelers want to reach there. Even this is not short way for walking, it is really a good time for people refresh while strolling. After a long way walk and contemplate around beautiful view, travelers will see a modest three-door gate locates next the roadside. Through the three-door gate, turn to the small path rather slope, go up about more than 200 steps to the top of mountain, an old pagoda appears in ancient and tranquil.
Bai Dinh Pagoda has been attracting a large number of pilgrims, domestic and international tourists. It is one of biggest works which is build to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long - Hanoi in 2010. This impressive complex is waiting for your discovery

   

 

   
 

 

Dinh & Le Temple

Location: Dinh Temple is located in Truong Yen Ha Commune and Le Temple is located in Truong Yen Thuong Communce, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province.
Characteristics: Dinh Temple worships King Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Temple worships King Le Dai Hanh. These temples were built in 17th century.

 

 
   

 

   

Dinh Temple was built in the shape of a Chinese character. Through the first entrance called Ngo Mon, there is a stone royal bed with Nghe (imaginary animals of the old times) standing on both sides. Inside the temple is Khai Thanh in worship of Emperor Dinh's parents.
The temple consists of three parts: Bai Duong for the community, Thien Huong in honour of mandarins, and Chinh Cung where Dinh Tien Hoang�s statue is located. On his left is the statue of his eldest son Dinh Lien, and on his right are those of Dinh Hang Lang and Dinh Toan. On each side of the altar, there is one stone dragon similar to the ones placed near the royal bed.
Le Temple is almost the same as Dinh Temple in term of architectural design, except for some details. Le Temple also consists of three parts: Bai Duong used for the community, Thien Huong, in memory of the royal mandarins of King Le, and finally, the altar in memory of the King. The Le Hoan Statue is at the centre, on the left is the statue of Queen Duong Van Nga and on his right is that of Le Ngoa Trieu, his fifth son and the third King of the Pre Le Dynasty.


   

 

   
 

 

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Location: Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is 13km from Ninh Binh Town, Ninh Binh Province.
Characteristics: In 968, Dinh Bo Linh ascended to the throne and took the name of King Dinh Tien Hoang and reunified the country under the name of Dai Co Viet and Hoa Lu was its capital for 41 years (968-1009).

 

 
   

 

   

The mountains and sea combined to make Hoa Lu's picturesque landscape. Hoa Lu lays in a flat valley surrounded by the Trang An lime stone mountains, which form a natural wall protecting the old citadel. The city's northwest is bordered by the Hoang Long River, the tributaries of which run through the capital, cooling the weather within the city and serving as convenient waterways.
The Royal Court was built in an area of 150 hectares in the eastern part of the capital while the western part served as a site to educate and protect children.
As the capital of the country for 41 years, Hoa Lu has many palaces, pagodas, tombs and pavilions that were built by different dynasties. One of the most popular pieces of architecture is the Bao Thien Tue Palace, which was plated with gold and silver. However many vestiges have been destroyed due to time and weather.
When King Ly Thai To moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long (now Hanoi) in 1010, two temples were built to dedicate to King Dinh Tien Hoang and his successor Le Dai Hanh. These two temples were first built in the 11th century and reconstructed in 1696.
Coming to Hoa Lu visitors can attend traditional cultural festivals here, and the most important and largest of them is the Truong Yen Festival, which is held on the 10th day of the third lunar month. The festival is in memory of the Kings of the Dinh and Le dynasties. The festival lasts for three days with many traditional games and martial arts, reflecting local residents' legends.


   

 

   
 

 

Phat Diem Cathedral

Location: Phat Diem Cathedral is in Luu Phuong Commune, Phat Diem Town, Kim Son District, 130km south of Hanoi, and 28km southeast of Ninh Binh Town.
Characteristics: Phat Diem Cathedral is the center of Catholicism in north Vietnam and also a tourist site attracting foreign and domestic visitors.
Phat Diem Cathedral was built between 1875 and 1899 four roofs and six sets of iron wooden pillars and consists of a network of ponds, lakes, churches, and artificial caves.

 

 
   

 

   

 

Phuong Dinh Church, part of the Phat Diem complex, is a giant building entirely made of stone. Numerous stone sculptures are on the inside and outside walls. A large bell cast in the 1890s weighing nearly 2 tons is found in the bell tower.
On both sides of the church are four smaller churches of different styles. On the extreme north corner are three stone caves. The most beautiful of these caves is Lo Duc Grotto.
In the area surrounding this massive stone and wood cathedral, the rice paddies are peppered with stone churches. But, unlike these structures, built by Europeans and resembling typical churches of the era, Phat Diem Cathedral was designed by a Vietnamese priest, known as Father Sau. Father Sau rallied the local population to build the cathedral, five side chapels, three artificial grottoes, an artificial lake and a bell tower. Phat Diem Cathedral seems to have changed very little since Graham Greene described its gigantic pillars formed out of single trees and the scarlet lacquer work of the altar. Indeed, with its multi tiered, curling roofs and its 48 lime-wood columns - (the largest of which weigh seven tones), Phat Diem is a far cry from a European cathedral. Stone relief angels overlook carved dragons and the cathedral's two-tone bell is accompanied by a giant brass gong.
Local Catholics view the cathedral's survival as almost miraculous; a bombing in 1972 flattened two of the side chapels and caused the cathedral to lean by some 20 degrees. Despite the ongoing war, restoration started immediately and today, the only obvious trace of the bombing is the destruction of some intricate stone carvings. And on Christmas Eve, an unforgettable midnight mass, attended by thousands and accompanied by a brass band, is held in the cathedral grounds

 

 

 

   

 

   
 

 

Thai Vi temple

Location: Thai Vy Temple is located to the west of Van Lam Hamlet, Ninh Hai Commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province.
Characteristics: The temple worships four generations of Kings Tran, Tran Thai Tong, Tran Thanh Tong, Tran Nhan Tong, and Tran Anh Tong.
According to the history, Thai Vy Temple was built during Tran Dynasty (the 13th– 14thcentury) follow the internal attack with outside support (noi cong, ngoai quoc) architecture.

 

 
   

 

   

In front of the temple is Ngoc Well by green stone with clear and full water all the year round. Behind the temple is Cam Son Mountains with rank trees.

Entering into the temple, at triumphal arch (nghi mon) there are two green stone monolithic horses. Passing the nghi mon, 2-storey iron wood bell-tower with eight-roof of mui hai tile is on the right. Corners of the bell-tower roof are very bend like the tail of phoenix. The bell inside was cast in 1689.

Interior temple with spacious worship rooms are decorated very meticulous. Many stone pillars in round or square are carved on with parallel sentences and many shapes such as dragons, phoenixes, unicorn, turtle and the image of cam, ky, thi, hoa (music, chess, poetry, painting - regarded as the four amusements or accomplishments of a feudal intellectual)...

In the sanctum, statue of King Tran Thanh Tong (the first-born child of King Tran Thai Tong) is between statues of his parents (King Tran Thai Tong and Queen Thuan Thien). Besides, the votive tablet of King Tran Nhan Tong (the first-born child of King Tran Thanh Tong) and the votive tablet of King Tran Anh Tong (the first-born child of King Tran Nhan Tong) is worship here.

Every year, Thai Vy Temple Festival takes place on the 14th day of the 3rdlunar month. This is occasion for people commemorating the merit of Kings Tran. There are activities such as palanquin procession, sacrifice ceremony, human chess playing, wrestling contest, dragon dancing and boat rowing...