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Marking the centre of North Vietnam, this grand-old dame of Asia is ageing better than most of her contemporaries. An Emperor's capital since 1010 AD, the capital of French Indochina for half a century and the present-day capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam since 1945, Hanoi is a fascinating city with a rich heritage. Known as the gateway to the mountain region in the north and to the scenic Halong Bay, Hanoi (which means "the hinterland between the rivers") is famous for its historic buildings, architectural masterpieces and beautiful landscape. Long the artistic and cultural heart of Vietnam, the first university in the country was established here in 1076 AD at the Temple of Literature to educate the sons of Mandarins. The Old Quarter remains with its narrow streets, and the modern city centre (the "Ville Francaise") offers colonial-era buildings and shaded boulevards. The verdant lakeside areas, especially around the central Lake of the Restored Sword and the West Lake, are noted for their tranquility and beauty. Famous landmarks not to miss include the One-Pillar Pagoda built in 1049 AD, the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, Ba Dinh Square and the Co Loa Citadel dating from the third century BC. Accor Hotels in Hanoi offer a touch of indulgence in every detail from the sparkling decoration to the first class service. Extravagant yet affordable, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi, Mercure Hanoi La Gare and Hanoi Horison Hotel welcome you whether it is a luxury hotel, business hotel or lakeside hotel you require.