23/09/2009 | 10:19:00

Old Quarter in Hanoi

As an important landmark of Hanoi, Old Quarter reflects a crucial phase in the growth of the city.

Old Quarter in Hanoi also has a history as old as 2000 years old. With the Returned Sword Lake to the South and the Long Bien Bridge to the North, Tran Nhat Duat Street on the East and the citadel wall on Ly Nam De Street in its West, Old Quarter located close to Hoan Kiem lake retains the original layout and architecture of the city, Hanoi.

Hanoi originated out of a group of villages consolidated under the Chinese regime. Legend says that King Ly Thai To, who occupied this area in 1010, tried refurbishing the former Chinese palace in this area but in vain. Much later in the thirteenth century, commercial villages grew around this palace, which led to development of transport routes from the village of workshops to the market for sale located between the palace and the Red River. Gradually the traders formed guilds and shifted to the areas in Old Quarter in Hanoi. All the streets that developed here have names starting with Hang meaning merchandise or shop. Each street had similar group of traders expert in one particular field. There are also temples on each street, where patron saints special to each trading group is worshipped. . Even today, you will find silversmiths from Hai Hung province in Hang Bac Street.

The streets developed with the shops in the front and the stock and living areas in the backyard. As a result, the houses became narrow and came to be known as tube houses. By the beginning of 20th century, there were only 36 streets in Hanoi, the maximum of which are now in Old Quarter. Thus Old Quarter is also called the 36 old streets. Though Hanoi underwent the strife of being annexed by various political regimes till it attained liberation in 1954, Old Quarter in Hanoi remained the same and withstood the effect of bombing in 1972.

If you visit the Old Quarter now, you will find restaurants, schools and even modern shops beside the crafts and trading colony. Some of the famous streets are Han Gai Street, Hang Quat, To Thinh Street, Hang Ma and Lan Ong Street./.


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