Hoa Lu is an ancient capital from the 10th and 11th century and an excellent place to learn about the cultural and architectural values related to the legend of Dai Co Viet, an old name for Vietnam.
Situated at the foot of Yen Ngua Mountain, there are two remaining temples from that era. In the past they used to be palaces. The first one, Dinh Tien Hoang, was renovated in the 17th century and is devoted to the Dinh dynasty. In front of the main temple entrance, there is a statue of a king. Inside, you can see bronze bells with more figures representing Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang and his three sons. The other temple is devoted to ruler Le Dai Hanh. You can also see the tomb of Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang, which is a 20-minute trek through the hill.
No public buses go to Hoa Lu, but there are some tours from Tam Coc or Ninh Binh.