Do you believe that Hanoi Old Quarter has a thousand year old?
Yes, it’s actually is. Experiencing drastic changes and renovation, it become a landmark of our capital and attracts a lot of tourists, both Vietnamese and foreigners.
Let’s see what makes attractions of the ancient streets.
Mostly all Vietnamese know the well-known phrase “Hà Nội ba sáu phố phường”, meaning Hanoi – 36 old streets and guilds. It talks about the ancient area with unique features in our traditional capital.
Back to about 10 centuries ago, artisans of professions from nearby villages around the capital gathered in an urban area of the citadel. Same products trading on the same road gradually made the street names in accordance to the professions or the products sold. That practice established a large urban area with flourished trading activities.
There, a street’s name begins with a word Hàng (Commodity) and follows with a name of the goods sold on that street. In the old day, each street sold one type of traditional product. For instance, Hàng Bạc (Silver Street) sold silver jewelry; Hàng Mành (Curtain Street) sold bamboo curtains, etc.
Now, things have changed together with modern living pace. On many streets people sell different goods besides traditional products, some are not even relating to the street names. For example:
If you are interested in merchandise purchase, here’re some popular streets and their selling products:
The number of streets now in the quarter is not exactly 36. Perhaps, it is only symbolic number, which used to be true in the past when the urban area was small. Now though we’re familiar with Hanoi 36 old streets and guilds, the area actually has 76 streets and covers about 100 hectares in Hoan Kiem district of Hanoi.
If you wonder where exactly the quarter is, here’re its boundaries:
Hanoi Old Quarter house
Photo courtesy Kienviet.net
Hanoi reserve several walking streets to service tourists. You can also visit Hanoi night market in the area of Old Quarter.
The market open a weekend night: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 6pm to 11pm. You can take a walk yourself or join a walking tour from Hoan Kiem Lake to Hang Dao Street, all the way to Dong Xuan Market.
It’s just crowded and regretfully fake goods are still all around. While you may find new experience while strolling on night market streets, just be careful of pickpockets, and traffic safety. Fort tourists, it’s good to go there for new experience in Hanoi Old Quarter at night, yet please don’t expect too much.
Strolling through the old quarter or “36 streets” of Hanoi Old Quarter is one of a must-do that travelers should enjoy. You’ll see the beauty as well as typical characteristic of these streets, of our capital as well.
If you have visited the Hanoi old quarter, you might want to share some of your thoughts here. How do you think about the landmark?
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