Hanoi Old Quarter and its history

Hanoi Old Quarter and its history

Travelling to Hanoi, it will be a big miss if you do not pay a visit to Hanoi old quarter - the oldest market place in Hanoi.As a tourist,walking is a nice way to stroll around different corners of the quarter for shopping, trying local foods & getting insight of local cultures.

Hanoi capital & its famous Old Quarter

In 1010, the King Ly Thai To removed the capital from Hoa Lu to Dai La citadel and renamed Dai La into Thang Long ( Ascending Dragon),presently Hanoi.Since Ly dynasty, the Kings did their efforts to build up important constructions such as royal palace, the Temple of Literature (the first university of Vietnam), the bussiness area ( Hanoi old quarter), Buddhist Temples in the capital as well as in other part of the country to promote the nation’s education, economy & cultures. Therefore, there are many beautiful attractions to visit in Hanoi capital, however, Old Quarter Hanoi is perhaps the most picturesque and characteristic part of Hanoi

Hanoi old quarter HCM

Hanoi capital with Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The formation history of Hanoi old quarter

Being set up together with Hanoi capital’s history & development since eleventh century, Hanoi old quarter is the most ancient, the most crowded and the most active bussiness area in the country, also well-known as 36 ancient streets in Hanoi.

Back to its early stage of formation when Hanoi was chosen as the capital,the collectionof tiny workshop villages which clustered around the palace walls evolved into craft cooperatives, or guilds. Skilled craftsmen migrated to the Quarter, and artisan guilds were formed by craftsmen originating from the same village and performing similar services. Members of the guilds worked and lived together, creating a cooperative system for transporting merchandise to the designated streets in the business quarter.

Hanoi temple

Old temple of Hanoi city

Because inhabitants of each street came from the same village,they developed their bussiness steps by steps.Commoners' homes functioned as the production, storage area and market stalls as well, before streets were formed. Because storekeepers were taxed according to the width of their storefront, storage, playground and living space moved to the rear of the buildings. Consequently, the long and narrow buildings called "tube houses” are popularly developed in this area.Typical measurements for such houses are 3 meters wide by 60 meters long.

Hanoi Old Quarter has a rich religious heritage. When the craftsmen moved from surrounding villages into the capital, they brought with them their religious practices. They transferred their temples, pagodas and communal houses to their new location. Each guild has one or two religious structures and honors its own patron saint or founder. Therefore, on each street in the ancient quarter there is at least one temple. Now, many of the old temples in the quarter have been transformed into shops and living quarters, but some of the old buildings' religious roots can still be recognized by the architecture of their roofs

Hanoi old quarter HM

Hang Ma Street

This area, traditionally 36 streets named according to the merchandise on offer (For example, Hang Buom Street means "sails merchandise street" and Hang Giay Street means "paper merchandise street"), is like a huge market place full of people, traffic, colour, noise, shops.The streets and buildings are narrow, adding to the charm and chaos. The streets are still thematic, though most are not related to the original trades, so there is an area where stall after stall sells towels or baby food, foodstuffs in general, traditional medicines as well as those with coffins and goods for the after life, tin goods, shoes, silks, clothes...And lots of places to eat, stay and buy souvenirs.

How to get around Hanoi old quater?

The traffic is chaotic with lots of motorcycles, bicycles, cyclos, cars etc. You could hire a cylco for 50,000 vnd for an hour’s ride through the Old Quarter for a quick look, then choose yourselves with the streets that you like to discover by walking tour – an interesting way to get sense of Hanoian’s cultures, their lifestyle & bussiness activities.When strolling around,you can stop at any food stall to try famous local dishes, shop around or just have a look at local houses or their daily life.However, you need to know how to cross the road properly.The important thing when exploring this area is to bring a good map along as you may get lost, but not to worry because this is one place which you will always remember.

Hanoi old quarter shopping

Shops in the old town Hanoi

The location of Hanoi old quarter

In order to visit this interesting quarter , you can do it yourselves or  it is a better way to take part in our guided Hanoi city tour operated daily to explore different famous attractions in Hanoi, including a stop to Hanoi Old Quarter .This Hanoi Tour surely provides you with valuable insights of Hanoi’s history, culture & people.For more information about Hanoi or Hanoi tours,you can visit our travel site http://goldenholidaytravel.com or feel free to email us, we will feedback you with useful consultancy for your enjoyable vacation in Hanoi, Vietnam.

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