Hanoi is the Capital of a thousand years
Hanoi is the capital and one of the biggest centers of economy and culture in Vietnam. There are more than 7.5 million people living in Hanoi.
Hanoi has been inhabited since at least 3000 BC. It has been the most important political center from 1010 to 1802. Hue then took over its position to became the capital under the Nguyen dynasty (1802 – 1945). After the Indochina was under the French control, Hanoi became the capital of Indochina from 1902 to 1954. It was then the capital of North Vietnam until 1975.
Through ups and downs for thousands of years, Hanoi has retained many interesting cultural and historic monuments due to its important position.
Hanoi features a warm humid subtropical climate. It represents the typical climate of North Vietnam with four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Summer which lasts from May to September, is hot and humid. The winter which starts from November until March, is dry in the first half and humid in the second half.
Places of Interest
The Old Quarter
The Old Quarter is the link between the trade town and craft villages. According to historical records, the Old Quarter came into being when Hanoi became the capital. This location was gradually organized around individual streets, of which each specialized in one specific type of goods produced in craft villages. Each street was inhabited by artisans from one or more of craft villages that made the same craft.
During the years from 15 to 18 centuries, guild denoted an organization of people working at the same trade as well as an administrative zone. The guild tended to give the names of their profession to the streets where they did business. Though the streets retain their old names, in most cases their original functions have shifted location or cease to exist.
Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem is a very beautiful lake in Hanoi center. This lake was once part of the Red River which flows nearby. Its total’s length is 1800 m2 and surrounded by old trees and graceful willows.
Legend has it Le Loi who was the leader of Lam Son troop found a precious sword. He brought it with him during the 10-year resistance against Chinese invaders. When the country in peace, one day while spending his time on this lake, suddenly a huge turtle appeared and asked him to return the sword. Therefore, the lake was called Ho Hoan Kiem which means restored sword lake.
Ngoc Son Temple
Ngoc Son is a Taoist temple on Ngoc Island in Hoan Kiem Lake. There have been different constructions with their functions changing over time. In late 19th century, the temple was built on the foundation of Khanh Thuy dedicated to three gods representing the military, medicine, and literature spirits. Today, it is also the place where people come to worship Tran Hung Dao who is a national hero and one of the most famous generals in the world.
Grand Opera House
Hanoi Opera House is one of the most impressive constructions built by the French. The architects of this project are Harley and Broyer. It was built from 1901 to 1911. More than 300 people worked every day to complete this theater in 10 years. Before the actual foundation was laid, the French had 35,000 bamboos driven into the ground to the depth of 0.9 m. It covers an area of 2,600 m2 with its capacity 870 seats.
In the beginning the performances were served the French and Vietnamese high class. It was here many important historical events took places. The first national assembly session of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam took place here in 1946. The Opera House was under restoration from 1995 to 1997. Today the opera house hold both domestic and international performance. Lots of Important cultural events also take place here.
Ho Chi Minh Complex
The Complex is consist of Mausoleum, Presidential Palace, House on Stilts, Museum.
Located at Ba Dinh Square, the Mausoleum is a great memorial where Ho Chi Minh body is kept. It was built from 1973 to 1975. Its interior and exterior were designed as a stone architecture. It was here that Ho Chi Minh read out the Declaration of Independence on September 2nd, 1945, and here that Independence is commemorated each National Day with military parades. When Ho Chi Minh passed away in 1969 his body was embalmed, not for public view until 1975.
Presidential Palace was built from 1901 to 1906 in Europe architecture. During the French rule, Indochina Governor lived and worked here. It has been called the Presidential Palace when Ho Chi Minh came here at the end of 1954. At that time we suggested him to stay in this palace, but he took a small flat nearby for living instead. The Presidential Palace was used for working. The palace witnessed many energetic activities of Ho Chi Minh.
Knowing that Ho Chi Minh love nature very much, the Politburo decided to build a house in tune of nature. On May 17th, 1958, a House on stilts was completed as a special gift to present Ho Chi Minh on his birthday.
Ho Chi Minh Museum was built from 1985 to 1990 on the occasion of his centenary birthday. The museum covers 100 ha in the shape of lotus. It was built for the purpose of preserving invaluable memorabilia associated with his life. The fundamental display includes: Ho Chi Minh’s childhood and his initial patriotic activities (1890-1911); thirty years of oversea journey (1911-1941); leading people to fight against the invaders (1941-1969).
One Pillar Pagoda
This is a historic Buddhist temple. The pagoda was originally built in 1049 and named Dien Huu.
The legend has it king Ly Thai To dreamed of Bodhisattva handing over him a baby son while she was seating on a lotus flower. The king then had a baby with a peasant girl. The king had the temple built in gratitude for this. In 1954 the temple was destroyed by French troop. The current temple was rebuilt imitating the former one in the shape of a lotus blossom which is a symbol of purity.
Temple of Literature
In 1070 the temple was built in honor of Confucius and his disciples. 6 years later, in 1076 Quoc Tu Giam, the first national university was established on the site of the temple. At first, only sons of royal and senior official families could study at the national university. Later common people were allowed to study here if they had talent.
This complex was no longer a university after 1802 when Hue became the capital instead of Hanoi. Today the Temple of Literature is not only the popular site for tourists but also a place where many cultural events take place.
Tran Quoc Pagoda
The pagoda was originally built on the bank of Red river in around 6th century. In 1615 the pagoda was relocated to Ca Vang Islet of the West Lake where it is now situated. The combination between its architecture and the surroundings makes it one of the most beautiful places in Hanoi.
Quan Thanh Temple
Quan Thanh is a Taoist temple.People usually come here on the occasion of Lunar New Year or the first and fifteenth day of every Lunar month to worship and pray for health, luck and happiness.
The temple has undergone many reconstructions and restorations. It was built in 11 century dedicated to Huyen Thien Tran Vu who controlled monsters in the north. Saint Tran Vu is a combination of legendary Vietnamese person who helped king An Duong Vuong build Co Loa citadel and a Taoist god.
Museum of Ethnology
To help people understand more about diverse cultures of 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam, the proposal for the museum was officially approved on December 14, 1987. It was opened to the public on November 12, 1997. It is one of the largest and finest museums in Vietnam containing costumes, musical instruments and many other exhibits.
History Museum was initially established on the material basis of the Louis Finot museum which was built in 1926 and completed in 1932. The building is an architectural masterpiece, a combination of eastern and western. It has been called History Museum since 1954. The museum was officially opened to the public on September 3rd, 1958.
Fine Art Museum
It was built in the 1930s as a School for daughters of high-ranking officials. It was converted into a museum in 1962. In 1966, it officially became Vietnam Fine Arts Museum. The museum displays a variety of art which was related to different periods of Vietnam’s history.
Military History Museum
The Museum was established in 1956 with a total area of 12,800 m2 . One of impressive constructions was Hanoi Flag Tower built from 1805 to 1812. During the French rule, they used this tower as an observation tower and communication station between headquarters and adjacent military posts. The museum exhibits the Vietnamese military history from the first period of national foundation until now.
If you have time in Hanoi, we highly recommend a tour of Hanoi which gives you a chance to explore this wonderful capital.