Located at 50 Ly Quoc Su Street in the Old Quarter, only 50m from St Joseph’s Cathedral, Ly Quoc Su Pagoda is one of the oldest pagodas in Hanoi.
Built in 1131, Ly Quoc Su Pagoda has been renovated several times, especially in 1954 when it was destroyed during the French colonial period. Nonetheless, this nearly-900-year-old Vietnamese-styled temple has preserved many precious antiques like Buddha statue or the precious bell of Tu Chung, as well as the meticulous architecture of unique carving patterns.
Ly Quoc Su Pagoda
In the past, the Pagoda belonged to Tien Thi village, Tien Tuc, Tho Xuong District. Ly Quoc Su Pagoda worships the Buddhist Monk of the Ly Dynasty, which lasted from 10th to 12th centuries. Nguyen Chi Thanh – the full name of the Monk, was born on 1066 in Dien Xa Village, Ninh Binh Province, under the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong (holding power from 1138 to 1175).
When Nguyen Chi Thanh was 11 years old, he began practicing to become a monk. His teacher was one of the most well-known monks over the country-Tu Dao Hanh, who really admired Nguyen Chi Thanh for his talent. After successfully healing King Ly Thanh Tong of a seemingly incurable disease, Nguyen Chi Thanh was honored with the title of Ly Quoc Su-or the Breat Monk and Merit teacher of the whole nation. The King also himself supervised the construction of a 12-storey tower residential quarter that he gifted for Ly Quoc Su, which was situated right next to Bao Thien Pagoda of Thang Long Capital.
Ly Quoc Su lived in the quarter, preaching Buddhist sutra, teaching medicine, curing illness for people of surrounding area, and especially, training craftsmen with bronze casting skill. That was the reason why Ly Quoc Su was also named the Saint of the bronze casting craft. When he died at the age of 75 at Giao Thuy Pagoda in Nam Dinh, King Ly Thanh Tong decided to turn the quarter into a temple to worship both Buddha and Ly Quoc Su, together with several pagoda all over the country such as Giao Thuy in Nam Dinh or Keo Pagoda in Thai Binh. His title “Ly Quoc Su” has become the name of the street running from Hang Bong Street to Nha Tho Street while his real name Nguyen Chi Thanh is taken to address a long beautiful street in the business district of Hanoi.
Nowadays, Ly Quoc Su Pagoda is a popular worshipping place for the local on the first and fifteenth day of every month in Lunar Calendar.