Majestic swans take to the waters of Hanoi's legendary 'Turtle Lake'

By Ba Do, Vo Hai   February 5, 2018 | 01:13 am PT
Majestic swans take to the waters of Hanoi's legendary 'Turtle Lake'
Swans show up on Hanoi's Sword Lake on Monday. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Hai
Most locals are in favor of the feathery additions, but some older residents are not so sure. 

Hanoi released seven black and five white swans onto the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake on Monday, catching both tourists and locals by surprise.

“I've never seen swans on the lake before. It’s pretty interesting,” a local resident said.

The Hanoi Sewage and Drainage Ltd., which spent two months dredging the polluted lake, said it hopes the swans will become a popular attraction, but is still awaiting public feedback.

Some of the city's elderly residents don't seem to be too impressed by the new additions to the lake.

They said the lake has long-been associated with the legend of a centuries-old turtle, so the swans don't make sense.

However, a poll conducted by VnExpress that attracted thousands of votes in just a few hours found that around 80 percent of people are in favor of the majestic birds.

The name Hoan Kiem Lake, also known as Turtle Lake or Sword Lake, was inspired by a legend where a golden turtle god returned to reclaim a sword that had been given to King Le Loi in the 15th century to help him fight Chinese invaders.

Covering 12 hectares (30 acres), the lake is possibly the most popular part of the capital. A rare giant turtle loved by many Hanoians died in the lake in January 2016 due to pollution.

The public drainage firm said the lake had been “seriously polluted” with high levels of coliform and E. coli, as well as toxic gases and metals. It removed 57,000 cubic meters of mud from the lake and pumped in fresh water during the cleanup operation.

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