SIGHTS NEAR HANOI
The countryside in northern Vietnam is spectacular. There are lovely mountains, terraced rice fields, unspoiled rivers and spectacular gorges within a short drive of Hanoi.
RED RIVER (Song Hong in Vietnamese) dominates the Hanoi area and is sort of the cradle of Vietnamese civilization. Rising in China's Yunnan Province, it is about 1,200 kilometers long. Its two main tributaries, the Song Lo (also called the Lo River, the Riviere Claire, or the Clear River) and the Song Da (also called the Black River or Riviere Noire), contribute to its high water volume, which averages 500 million cubic meters per second, but may increase by more than 60 times at the peak of the rainy season. The entire delta region, backed by the steep rises of the forested highlands, is no more than three meters above sea level, and much of it is one meter or less. The area is subject to frequent flooding; at some places the high-water mark of floods is fourteen meters above the surrounding countryside. For centuries flood control has been an integral part of the delta's culture and economy. An extensive system of dikes and canals has been built to contain the Red River and to irrigate the rich rice-growing delta. Modeled on that of China, this ancient system has sustained a highly concentrated population and has made double-cropping wet-rice cultivation possible throughout about half the region. [Source: Library of Congress *]
Red River Delta , a flat, triangular region of 3,000 square kilometers, is smaller but more intensely developed and more densely populated than the Mekong River Delta. Once an inlet of the Gulf of Tonkin, it has been filled in by the enormous alluvial deposits of the rivers, over a period of millennia, and it advances one hundred meters into the gulf annually. The ancestral home of the ethnic Vietnamese, the delta accounted for almost 70 percent of the agriculture and 80 percent of the industry of North Vietnam before 1975. *
MOUNT TU TRAM ( About 20 kilometers southwest of Hanoi, along Highway 6, Phung Chau Commune, Chuong My District) is a limestone mountain with picturesque caves and caverns. When visiting the spot, the traveller is usually told the story of Mt. Tu Tram. In ancient times, the brightest and finest star of the heavens, Tu Vi, suddenly fell from the sky and has transformed into a mountain. The local people named it Mt. Tu Tram. In the Le Dynasty, in the seventh year of Canh Tri, 1669, a text was carved in the stone half way up its walls. The mountain was then called Mt. Long Chau or Mt. Phat Tich (the mountain embracing relics and traces of the Buddha).
Enamored with the beautiful landscape of Mt. Tu Tram, in 1516 King Le Chieu Tong had a royal stopover pavilion built and ordered the digging of canals and clearing of streams around the mountain for dragon-boat rides whenever he was free from national affairs. Quite a few religious structures such as altars and shrines, temples and pagodas were built during following dynasties. As a result, today, many architectural vestiges of different times are found, such as the Pagodas of Long Tien, Quan Yin, Vo Vi and Ba Lang, the Cao Son Temple, Mother's Temple, stone-slab pavilions and towers. Due to the wear of ages and the devastation of wars and nature, some of the architectural relics lie in ruins.
Long Tien Pagoda, also called Tram Pagoda, was erected in 1669. It has been repaired and restored several times. In the middle of its high stone floor perron stands a stone slab with a relief carving of two lizards. According to some Southeast Asian agricultural people, the lizard symbolizes the fire genie. A group of Buddha statues in the pagoda bears the style of 18-19th century art with very delicate and sophisticated curving lines.
Long Tien is the most beautiful cave. Its mouth is not so large but its vault is immense. Hundreds of stalactites in every exotic and eerie forms flow from the roof and the walls of the cave. In 1696 King Le Hy Tong had dozens of statutes of Buddha, giant guardians and sacred deities carved in the cave. This treasure trove is of immense historic and artistic value, particularly the statute of Amitabha. It portrays him in a zen position on a lotus, with a round, chubby upright face and half-closed eyes, in deep meditation and wearing a sympathetic and savory smile. The piece was masterfully carved with delicate lines in detailed animation. The roof and the walls of the cave still bear the autographs of more than ten famous scholars from the Posterior Le to the Nguyen dynasties. Present are 20 pre-eminent essays in prose and poetry in classical Vietnamese script (Han Nom) heaping praise upon the beautiful landscape of Mt. Tu Tram.
In the area of Mt.Trao, very close to Mt. Tu Tram, a little shrine is found on top of a mountain: Vo Vi Pagoda built in 968 AD. Today, on the stone walls around the pagoda are found slabs with scriptures of great historical and artistic value. Each year, when spring comes round, the local people around Mt. Tu Tram hold the Tram Pagoda Festival on the second day of the Second lunar month (late February or March). In the festive atmosphere, village elders recount for the young generation the myths and legends of Mt. Tu Tram.
Bat Tang (a couple hours from Hanoi) has been a major center of Vietnamese ceramics for 500 years. Famous for its blue and white bowls, teacups and jars, it is small village with narrow mud lanes, artisan workshops, and small cross-draft kilns. The fuel for the kilns is made patties made of charcoal, straw and manure mixed together. The clay for the pottery is mixed and stirred in vats by women with their feet. Nearly all the village's 3,000 inhabitants make ceramics.
FAMOUS PAGODAS NEAR HANOI
Tram Gian Pagoda (20 kilometers from Hanoi in Tien Lu Village, Hoai Duc District, Ha Tay Province) is an impressive complex with multi-pillared temples, ornate altars, leisure areas, where mandarins would play chess with live human pieces. Tram Gian Pagoda, also called Tien Lu Pagoda, is built in the "noi cong ngoai quoc" architectural style which means Cong Chinese character in the inner part and the Quoc Chinese character in the outer. The pagoda was probably originally built in 1185 during the reign of King Ly Cao Tong on its present site at the top of the low Tien Lu, or Ma Hill. It nestles snugly on that hill in a natural cushion of mature trac, or kingwood and tram, or canari trees, and watched over by giant pines
At festivals the separate pavilions were given over to all-consuming and lavish praise, no more so than the Gia Ngu where the statue of Buddha was paraded during water puppet performances on the semi-circular lotus lake. A visit demands a degree of effort: a climb of several hundred steps, a walk down an alley paved with bricks and stone, reveals a two-storey bell tower of eight elegantly corner-curved roofs. Known as the Bell Tower of Tram Gian, it still preserves its detailed art work, its supporting columns carved with intricate lotus shape, the wood panels in the shape of dragons, flowers and leaves, clouds and the sky. Under the roof hangs a 1.4 meters tall bell, made in 1794 on which is also carved a literary work by Tran Ba Hien from nearby Van Canh Village.
Then, and another healthy flight of stairs on, there's the main pagoda - the legacy of the Tran Dynasty in the 14th century but largely destroyed by the Ming invaders in the 15th and rebuilt probably during the Le Dynasty, as much as a tribute to those times. There the statues of two Guardian Spirits, the Good-encouraging Spirit and the Bad-punishing Spirit, preside and the Thien Huong, or Celestial Perfume, and in the inner part of the second house two Thuong Dien , or Upper Altars, for the praise of Buddha. A four curved-cornered and columned roof shelters a drum, an equally large gong, both dating from the 10th Year of Canh Hung (1750).
The pagoda is seen as one entity or 100 smaller ones. It houses 153 statues mostly made of wood, some of clay red lacquered and trimmed with gold, all to the greater glory of Tam The, the Past, Present and Future Lives. A large terracotta platform supports an ornately carved altar bearing lotus flower, legends, and dragon, tiger, horse, and elephant reliefs. Nearby stands the black-lacquer jackfruit-tree wood statue of Tuyet Son styled on one found in the Himalayas. The imagery goes on at every turn: arranged and ornate altars to worship 18 Arhats and the Ruler of Hell in the Ten Great Halls, a separate pagoda and altar to worship Saint Boi or Monk Nguyen Lu also known as Binh Yen. Legend has it the statue is actually his rattan preserved body covered by an oil cloth.
Two mighty central columns bear parallel scrolls inlaid with mother-of-pearl praising the victories of the Vietnamese people's struggle against foreign invasion: “Up till now that northern country is still afraid of the fierce rains/ And since the by gone days the southern land is still waiting for the auspicious clouds.” In the pagoda itself, a statue lauds General Dang Tien Dong, who served King Quang Trung in the historic battle of Dong Da and then in 1794 helped repair the pagoda, casting its bell and erecting stele. He too was commemorated as one of the architects, if not of the pagoda itself, then certainly of its place in history. Not for nothing have Xu Doai locals praised the pagoda through time:
Thay Pagoda (30 kilometers southwest of Hanoi, at the foot of Sai Son Mountain in Phuong Cach Commune, Quoc Oai District, Ha Tay Province) is a 12th century complex dedicated to Buddha, and the founder of water puppetry. There are good views from the top or nearby Sai Son hill. At first Thay Pagoda, also known as Thien Phuc Tu Pagoda, was a small pagoda formed by three tiers three hyphens parallel to each other: Ha Pagoda, Trung Pagoda, and Thuong Pagoda. The outer part, Ha Pagoda, is a place for offerings and ceremonies; the middle part, Trung Pagoda, is a place for worship of Buddha; and finally, the inner part is a place for worship of Priest Tu Dao Hanh. An automated sandalwood statue of Tu Dao Hanh that stands and sits is located in a red lacquered shrine trimmed with gold and covered with a curtain. In front of the pagoda is Long Tri pond, in the middle of which is a stage called Thuy Dinh, where water puppet performances are held. Nhat Tien and Nguyet Tien Bridges, built by Doctor Phung Khac Khoan in 1602, are located on each side of the stage. Interesting sites can be visited in the surroundings of the pagoda. For example, Phat Tich and Cac Co Caves are located not too far behind the pagoda. A hole in the dome of Cac Co Cave lets one see outside the cave.
Son Tay Citadel (in Son Tay Town, about 40 kilometers from Hanoi) features a wall built of hard sandstone with one gate on each side. The wall is surrounded by a 3 meters deep, 20 meters wide moat. Each corner of the citadel was armed with cannon. Erected in 1822, Son Tay Citadel contains the Kinh Thien Palace - the rest house of the king, residences and offices of provincial leaders, warehouses, and troop camps. Due to time and the effects of war, parts of the ancient wall were destroyed. Measures to prevent and restore this historical relic have recently been implemented.
Mia Pagoda (in Mia Village, Duong Lam Commune, Son Tay Town) was built during the Tran Dynasty (1225-1406) and preserves many ancient artifacts such as the great red bell made in 1743, the bronze gong (1846), and the Lady Mia stone tables, set up in 1632. Mia Pagoda is also initially called Sung Nghiem Tu. Several years later, Lady Nguyen Thi Dong, also called Lady Mia, had the pagoda rebuilt and renamed. The pagoda has 287 statues of all sizes, among which are famous sculptures such as the statue of Buddha in the Himalayas and the statues of the Eight Vajra Deities. The largest one is the sculpture of Bat Bo Kim Cang located in the upper sanctuary.
DAU PAGODA AND ITS MUMMIFIED MONKS
DAU PAGODA (25 kilometers south of Hanoi, the end of Gia Phuc Village, Nguyen Trai Commune, Thuong Tin District, Hanoi) is famous for the mummified Xa Loi bodies of two monks: Vu Khac Minh and Vu Khac Truong. “Dau Pagoda is the oldest of its kind in the country. Built in the third century, it is a renowned Buddhist center, made even more famous after the mummified remains of two monks were discovered. They are the corpses of Vu Jhac Minh and his nephew Vu Khac Truong.
The pagoda's gate faces west; the walls are not too high, mossy green and decorated in Buddhist designs and patterns. High on the center is a big panel with characters Thanh Dao Tu. Beyond the gate, visitors seem to be in a care-free world and live in an atmosphere of meditation. Three - door gate is an ancient architectural project overlooking Long Tri Lake. The gate was built in a lotus design with two roofs. The upper roof is symbol of positive world; the lower roof is square-shaped as a foundation. The pillar base-stones to support the whole roof and the lowest roof is seen as negative world. Between the positive and the negative is a bronze-bell, a symbol of center part of the lotus flowers.
A visit to Dau Pagoda helps visitors to see rare and precious exhibits: bases and stone-bases from Ly Dynasty decorated with lotus flowers. On staircases of the main hall, there are two stone dragons, a masterpiece of Tran Dynasty. The dragons were built in round bodies, winding as waves on blocks of stone; it's really an artistic masterpiece. Visitors will be deeply interested in the ancient traditional architectures, the sculpture pictures on beams, columns or panels... all depict legendary traditions: fairies on dragons, boys fighting tigers, or four sacred animals: dragon, lion, turtle and phoenix (long, ly, quy, phuong) or 4 seasons: pine-tree, buttercup, ivory-bamboo and apricot (tung, cuc, truc, mai). The sculpture designs look very beautiful, realistic.
All architectural works and projects: the main hall, the worship house, the temple, the male and female monks' houses... were built of rectangular - shaped bricks (Mac Dynasty). The typical identities on the bricks lie in patterns of sacred animals: houses, dragons, carps to turn into dragons or vegetation and flower world.
Mummified Monks of Dau Pagoda: The story has it that after reciting prayers, the two monks—Vu Khac Minh and Vu Khac Truong—burnt themselves by the innermost lire of meditation, they died under the altars of statues and their followers protected their bodies in meditativeness and coated with special paint, then put on closed-in temples. Present world science has self-affirmed that embalmment shall satisfy three conditions as follows: 1) There should be chemicals; 2) Intestine and brain shall be moved away; 3) The dead body should be kept in closed box.
In 1983, an X-Ray of monk Vu Khac Minh) concluded that: 1) There is no mark of chisel.2) No phenomenon of intestine, brain moved away and joints adhere closely as shown. 3) The weight was seven kilograms.This is the most special culture heritage in Dau Pagoda. It's also a product of spiritism culture, the most sacred and interesting. The pagoda is admitted by Ministry of Culture and Information as "culture historical" monument.
In November 2003, Reuters reported: “Vietnamese scientists said they had completed the restoration of two mummies from the 17th century which depict Buddhist monks in a position of meditation. The figures are embalmed Zen Buddhists Vu Khac Minh and Vu Khac Truong. The pair died aged around 50 and 40, respectively, in the 17th century. Using a sticky plant extract, sawdust, soil from termite hills and muslin netting, a team that includes two sculptors spent more than six months to restore the bodies. They also placed the mummies into glass boxes filled with nitrogen to avoid damage by oxygen. "The statues now can last for hundreds of years," said Nguyen Lan Cuong, associate professor of ethnology and head of the restoration project. He was speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony to return the mummies to Dau pagoda. About 400 villagers turned up to show their respect. "We old people are very happy to watch this," said 82-year-old Tran Thi Quyet, a Buddhist who has been praying at the Dau pagoda for nearly three decades. Cuong said the two bodies had been damaged by Vietnam's tropical climate. Truong's body had been restored previously after flood damage in 1893. [Source: Reuters, November 29, 2003 *=*]
MCN International reported: Until 2003, archaeologists were “unable to explain why their bodies, including their internal organs and brains, remain intact for 300 years. But worshippers say the monks achieved this by secluding themselves to meditate for 100 days. "The superior had reached the height of his journey. In Buddhist thought, only these monks can remain intact after death. No one on earth can imitate them," said Thich Thanh Tu, deputy chairman, Vietnam Buddhist Sangha Executive Council. The remains of the monks continue to be worshipped in the pagoda, but floods, damp weather and rats have caused considerable damage. [Source: MCN International Pte Ltd, August 28, 2003]
Professor Nguyen Lan Cuong said, "Our preservation work includes two stages, each lasting for more than half a year," Prof Nguyen, head of the preservation team. "First, we'll work on Superior Minh's remains with a new and special kind of lacquer coating. In the second stage, the broken arm and cracks of the more damaged corpse of Superior Truong will be glued and re-sealed." Once the preservation work has been completed, the mummies will be placed into specially sealed glass boxes to ensure proper air quality and humidity levels.
Perfume Pagoda (40 kilometers southwest of Hanoi) is a stunning complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built into the side of a limestone cliff. Many pilgrims venture here in March and April to seek miracle cures and offspring for barren women. The boat ride from the town of My Loc to the area of the pagoda passes through stunning karst scenery, similar to that at Halong Bay. There is good hiking in countryside around the pagoda.
HUONG SON TOURIST AREA
HUONG SON TOURIST AREA (My Duc District, 70 kilometers from Hanoi) covers an area of a thousand hectares and includes a complex of mountains, rivers and streams, villages, pagodas, and grottoes surrounded by the Huong Tich Mountain Range, north of the Truong Son Range. Huong Son Tourist Area is divided into three lines. The two main ones are the: 1) Huong Tich Line; 2) Long Van Line; and the Tuyet Pagoda Line. To get to Huong Son from Hanoi, go by car to Ha Dong Town, and then continue on to Van Dinh Townlet. At the Te Tieu marking point, turn right and continue to Duc Wharf. Stop here and take a boat along the Yen Stream for about three kilometers to Tro Wharf, from where the Huong Son
1) The Huong Tich Line consists of Yen Stream, Trinh Temple, Hoi Bridge, Thanh Son and Huong Dai Pagoda, Thien Tru, Hinh Bong, Tien Pagoda, Giai Oan Pagoda, Cua Vong Temple, Huong Tich Grotto. Yen Stream flows between two mountains for three kilometers. However, sitting on the boat and enjoying the surrounding landscape, tourists may feel that this stream is endless. During the festive season, the stream is full of boats carrying pilgrims who have come to enjoy the landscape of Huong Son. Traveling along Yen Stream, tourists pass by landscapes, many of which are named according to their forms. On the left is Phoenix Mountain there is also Doi Cheo Mountain, which looks like an Indian python (Tran). Also on the left are Bung and Voi, two mountains having interesting legends. On the right is Ngu Nhac Mountain with the Trinh Temple where visitors stop and burn incense for the God of the Mountain. Before reaching Tro Wharf where the tour begins, the boat also passes by the Deo and Phong Su Mountains, Son Thuy Huu Tinh Cave, Trau Cave, Hoi Bridge, and Dau Valley.
Thien Tru Pagoda is also called Tro Pagoda. Founded by Venerable Van Thuy Thien Thien Tran Dao Vien Quang, the pagoda was initially a small thatch. During the French Domination Period, the pagoda was destroyed. However, the Thien Tru Pagoda was reconstructed after 1954, and in 1991, the Three Entrance gate of the pagoda was built in its present day form. To the right of the pagoda is the tower garden where the monk bones are buried. At the back, there is Thien Thuy Thap; on the left is a semicircle lake.
To reach the Tien Son Pagoda from Thien Tru Pagoda, follow a small path, turn right, and then continue for about one kilometer. This small pagoda to worship Bodhisattva Quan Am is located on a high mountain in Nui Tien Grotto. Inside the pagoda and grotto there are multi-forms of stalactites. Music can be made by knocking on several of these stalactites.
The tour continues to Huong Tich Pagoda and Grotto (also called Trong Pagoda), and then to Giai Oan Pagoda, which was founded by Patriarch Monk Thong Dung Huy Tam II. Originally, Giai Oan Pagoda was a small thatch located on Long Tuyen Mountain. The pagoda was restored in 1928, and again in 1937. In 1995, the Tu Van Temple and the yard of the pagoda were built. Bodhisattva Quan The Am is worshipped at this pagoda. At present, the valuable statue of Tu Ty Quan Am cast in the 18th century is kept in Tu Van Temple. Inside the pagoda, there is the Thanh Tri well, which according to legend was the place where Bo Tat Quan The Am Dieu Thien took a bath before going to the Buddha. Since that time, pilgrims have come to drink the water from this well to rid themselves of their desires and sufferings of daily life.
From Giai Oan Pagoda, the tour continues to Huong Tich Pagoda and Grotto, located 2.5 kilometers from Thien Tru Pagoda, reached by climbing some stone-steps. At the top of the stairs is the gate of the grotto, which looks like the mouth of a dragon. Visitors then descend 120 stone steps into the Huong Tich Grotto. In the middle of the entrance, there is a stalactite called Dun Gao (meaning box of rice); deeper in the cave, there is said to be one way to Heaven and one way to Earth. A statue of Bodhisattva Quan Am made of green stone during the Tay Son Dynasty is also found in the cave. Stalagmites resembling golden trees, silver trees, cocoons, hillocks, and a group of nine dragons surround the statue. Written on the entrance of the famous Huong Tich pagoda are the five Chinese characters "Nam Thien De Nhat Dong", meaning the most beautiful grotto under the southern skies. These were the words spoken by Lord Trinh Sam in the 17th century when he visited the grotto.
2) Long Van Line consists of Long Van Pagoda and Grotto, Fairy Grotto, Nguoi Xua Grotto, Cay Khe Pagoda, Hinh Bong Pagoda. After travelling down the Yen River, the tour then continues by boat to Trinh Temple. Next, the tour stops at the Long Van Pagoda. Long Van Pagoda, surrounded by white clouds all year round, is situated on the slope of a mountain half in An Son Mountain and half in the forest. The Long Van Grotto was founded in 1920. The grotto, though small, creates mixed feelings for its visitors.
3) The Tuyet Pagoda Line consists of Phu Yen Temple, Tuyet Son Pagoda, Ca Pagoda, Bao Dai Co Sat, Mau Pagoda, Thuong Pagoda, Ngoc Long Pagoda. To reach this area from Thien Tru, follow a small road, turn left toward the south, and then continue for approximately four kilometers. The Tuyet Pagoda Tour is a visit to the second most beautiful landscape complex. Tuyet Stream is small, but the water is green and clear and flows around the mountain like a running dragon. The first stop on this tour is the Phu Yen Temple to burn incense to the God of the Mountain. Next, pilgrims go to Bao Dai Co Sat to worship Buddha. Bao Dai Pagoda is pleasant and quiet. Inside the pagoda, there is a valuable Nine Dragon Shrine. The tour continues to Ngoc Long Grotto, which is not very large but has a unique style. The stalactites and stalagmites look like the nests of dragons. The best attraction is a statue of Bodhisattva Quan Am with her tender and kind-hearted face sculpted in the cliff.
QUAN SON LAKE
QUAN SON LAKE (My Duc District, 50 kilometers from Hanoi), with its many small islands surrounded by forests and hundreds of limestone peaks, is considered a small Ha Long Bay on land. Passing the East Bridge, visitors reach a wharf where, for only VND60,000 (US$3), they can be taken around the 850 hectares lake area by an enthusiastic boatwomen. The interesting tour gives tourists a chance to behold the captivating scenery and enjoy the fresh air. The site is also the home of many varieties of birds, including the white egret. [Source: Minh Thu, Vietnam News, September, 24 2010]
In Quan Son, there are many wonderful destinations, including Trau Trang (White Buffalo) Mountain, Su Tu (Lion) Island, Doc Lap Island, Voi Phuc (Kneeling Elephant) Hill and Hoa Qua Son (Flowers and Fruits Hill), each with its own natural attractions. The area is also famous for Linh Son and Ngoc Long caves, which are not large but are dramatic, with stalactites and stalagmites in various shapes of eagles, dragons, phoenix, unicorns and tortoises. Tourists who arrive in the rainy season in June and July may not have a chance to visit the caves, because the water level rises.But in this season, waterfalls run down into the lake from the high mountains, creating white spumes that add to the splendid scenery.
After the boat tour, a rest on the islands is suggested, where stilt-houses serve as places to stop for a picnic. Visitors can bring meals from home or ask the ferrywomen to buy food for a delectable midday feast. Local specialities include chicken and goat raised on the island, as well as fish, crab and snails from the lake. Standing on the shore of Quan Son Lake, visitors marvel at the magnificent and peaceful environment, with imposing cliffs overlooking the green water and flocks of white egrets leisurely stretching their wings. From October to March, Voi (Elephant) Valley – the bird watching point in Quan Son – is especially appealing, with a great number of species flocking to build nests and shelters.
Next to the valley, Huyen, our boatwoman, led us to an area filled with lotus. She said that we are so lucky to visit this place while the lotus were in bloom. The boat runs slowly through the kingdom of lotus, hindered by roots and sprigs of flowers and leaves. We were charmed by the perfume of the blossoms. Huyen suggested that we pick a leaf and use it as an umbrella to shade us from the sun. Because there were plenty of flowers, we were allowed to pluck a small bunch to bring home. There are also some pagodas in Quan Son, such as Cao and Ham Yen. However, Linh Son Pagoda, built during the Mac dynasty in the 16th century, is located at the foot of the mountain near Linh Son Cave and reflects on the surface of the lake. About 20 rowboats and several motor boats are available at the lake to serve tourists.
Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Vietnamtourism. com, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, CIA World Factbook, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Global Viewpoint (Christian Science Monitor), Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, Fox News and various websites, books and other publications identified in the text.
© 2008 Jeffrey Hays
Last updated May 2014