The Old Quarter

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Established in the 11st century, The Ha Noi’s Old Quarter- the pride of Ha Noi Capital is located between the Lake of the Restored Sword, the Long Bien Bridge. It is known as crowded trade area where artisans and traders concentrate to work and set up specific trade streets.

In the past, from craft villages around the former Thang Long Citadel the artisans came to this area to specialize in their work. This is the reason why the trade streets developed more and more powerfully. Every street was vivid, noisy, animated in trade and worked as a miniature craft village. Thus, street names were started with “Hang” and originated from the names of many types of merchandise produced and traded such as Hang Gai (Silk), Hang Muoi (Salt), Hang Duong (Sugar), etc. Since then, Vietnamese people usually call Ha Noi as Ha Noi 36 streets in which the streets mean concentration place of traders who specialize in one same merchandise.

Another prominent characteristic of the Old Quarter is tube-shaped houses with sloping roofs which were mainly constructed in 18th and 19th centuries with their fronts functioning as shops. The Hanoians built and arranged skillfully system of rooms, entresol, and courtyard for life’s demands. So, even though old houses aren’t too large, they still have places for work, rest, shop, living-room, bedroom, etc.

Visitors to the Old Quarter will be attracted by cultural values in about 100 old architectural works including communal houses, pagodas, assembly halls, temples, etc. In particular, Bach Ma (White Horse) Temple is located in Hang Buom Street considered as one of four defense temples of the Thang Long Citadel.

Maybe, many foreigners will feel a bit scared when they get lost in the Old Quarter with similarly-named streets, the pavements filled with food stalls and the roads are full of traffic chaos. However, these feelings will pass gradually when we realize that life of Hanoians is not only bustling, vibrant, constantly moving but very poetic and lyrical as well. We will be very enjoyable with many kinds of special food such as pho (noodles served with beef, chicken, etc), bun cha (rice vermicelli and grilled chopped meat), chao ca (fish and rice gruel), bun ca (rice vermicelli and fish), banh ran (glutinous rice doughnut), etc.

Especially, in the weekend when darkness covers Ha Noi city, we will have chance to walk 3km on the route Hang Dao – Dong Xuan to join a night market. If tourists have Vietnam family trips, this is the best time for your family to walk together, buy souvenirs and handicrafts, enjoy traditional dishes or watch cultural activities such as hat xam, quan ho, ca tru, cheo in the evening of Saturdays.

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