TRAN HUNG DAO STREET

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Tran Hung Dao’s legendary victories against the Mongol Hordes have given the Vietnamese commander a godlike status




If you ever pass by Hanoi Railway Station, chances are that you have sầu already gone through Tran Hung Dao street (known as Boulevard Gambetta during the French colonial era). Located in the busiest corner of Hanoi – Hoan Kiem District, its length runs impressively through the center of Hanoi. Like many other streets in the Old Quarter, it features an intersection of government buildings, several embassies as well as local cafés and restaurants. Although the road is currently rather bumpy & dusty due to lớn the construction of a new underground railway station, it is honorably named after one of the most iconic Vietnamese historical figures & accomplished military strategists: Tran Hung Dao or Grvà Prince Hung Dao.

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HANOI 1920-1929 – Boulevard Gambetta – Phokhổng lồ courtesy of Manhnhì.

Tran Hung Dao (1229?-1300), originally named Tran Quoc Tuan, was the commander behind the Battle of Bach Dang River, one of the greakiểm tra examples of military tactics in Vietnamese history, and is much revered for his bravery, loyalty và military skill, today assuming an almost godlike status.

Tran Hung Dao Street, Hanoi 2020.

While his birth year và biological mother are still debated, his father was Tran Lieu, the elder brother of the first emperor of the Tran Dynasty, Tran Tnhị Tong. When the emperor’s wife could not pregnant, he took his brother’s wife as his own bride. This is said to have so enraged Tran Lieu that he led a short-lived rebellion against his own brother, and invested much energy in training his son Tran Hung Dao in the hope that he would one day avenge this personal shame. The training seemed khổng lồ pay insofar as Prince Tran Hung Dao went on to become one of the greademo military commanders in the nation’s history.

Statue of Tran Hung Dao.

Despite the bad blood between his father & uncle, Tran Hung Dao did not engage in the family battles instead devoting himself lớn the glory of the nation, securing the country’s stability, and protecting it from Northern invaders, including twice repelling Mongol forces led by Kublai Khan.

I tremble with anger because I cannot eat our enemy’s flesh, lie down in his skin, chew up his liver, and drink his blood.

-Tran Hung Dao

When Khan’s Yuan Army invaded northern Vietnam’s Red River valley with a huge army in 1284, Tran initially fell baông xã ceding large tactical areas while adopting a defensive strategy to lớn bide his time, as the Mongol army became fatigued and struggled with the heat & disease, Tran launched a counter-attaông chồng & the Mongol horde soon was driven baông xã from whence it came. Centuries later, these guerilla warfare tactics where to lớn inspire Vietnam’s communist forces.

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Such victories only added to Tran’s legacy & soon after he was made head of all Vietnam’s armies. His devotion to the country took on an intensity that has been admired in the nation for centuries, and is perhaps most typified in a rousing speech he made to lớn his troops in 1284 as Supreme Commander:

“In the face of these dangers khổng lồ the Motherlvà, I fail lớn eat during the day and to lớn sleep at night. Tears roll down my cheeks & my heart bleeds as if it were being cut lớn shreds. I tremble with anger because I cannot eat our enemy’s flesh, lie down in his skin, chew up his liver, & drink his blood. I would gladly surrender my life a thousand times on the field of battle if I could vì these things.”

It was not long after this that Tran Hung Dao would come to lớn fight his defining battle, leading victory over the mighty Mongols on Bach Dang River in 1288. When the Mongols resumed their campaigns against Vietnam for a third time, Tran Hung Dao retreated slowly but was able to lớn predict the naval routes taken by the Mongols. He knew the Mongol naval fleet was unaware of the Bach Dang’s terrain, & quickly installed a series of steel-tipped wooden spikes along the river bed which could not be seen during high tides.

Wooden spike remains from the navel fleet.

When the Mongol ships, now led by Omar Khan, crossed this river, Vietnamese forces, using smaller và more maneuverable vessels, lured them into lớn stretches of river beyond the unseen spikes unaware of the danger of the fatal traps. Once the river tide on Bach Dang River receded, the Mongol vessels were either struck & sunk by the embedded spikes, or simply unable to lớn move sầu where they became easy pickings for Tran’s troops. Tran Hung Dao’s initiative sầu brought down an estimated 400 large Mongol vessels, killing about 40,000 enemy soldiers, while capturing admiral Omar Khan as well. A few of the steel-tipped spikes are still preserved to this day, admittedly in rather inglorious fashion, over 700 years later.

On his death, from natural causes in 1300, the emperor bestowed upon hyên the title of “Hung Dao Dại Vuong” (Gr& Prince Hung Dao) for his military prowess.

Statue of Tran Hung Dao as standing today.

Due to his tremendous contributions & achievements lớn Vietnamese history và warfare, the Grand Prince today has a legendary status, with many roads and area’s named after hlặng throughout cities across Vietphái nam (there is even a road named after hlặng in California in the United States), including dozens of statues. He is so revered that you might even come across shrines và temples dedicated lớn hyên ổn, with many worshipping him as Duc Tkhô cứng Tran (God Tran), believing in his power lớn ward against evil spirits. He is even said to be able lớn heal women afflicted with reproductive sầu problems, as well as the demons that cause epidemics.

So next time you visit Tran Hung Dao street, make sure to spare a few moments & pay your respects khổng lồ this anh hùng và demigod of Vietphái nam.

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Photos by Grant J. Riley

“The names behind the Hanoi streets” unveils the great historical provenance behind our favourite streets to lớn get a bia hoi fix, bun thân phụ, or anything Hanoi-wise for that matter.