Hanoi Ancient Houses

Hanoi Ancient Houses are best attractions you should visit in Hanoi. Most of ancient houses are located in the ancient quarter, within the territory of Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi City.

Hanoi Old Quarter Map

Geometrically, the ancient quarter has a shape of triangle, whose peak is constituted by Hang Than Street, eastern side by damp, western side by the streets of Hang Cot, Hang Dieu, Hang Da and based by the axis of Hang Bong, Hang Gai, Cau Go Streets.

According to the assessment of some historians, the ancient quarter made its appearance immediately after the Thang Long’s establishment, i.e. nearly a thousand years ago. Most of houses presently existing within the ancient quarter’s borders have, however, their age of only more than 100 years. In this quarter, those houses that keep an air of anxiety are no longer so numerous. It is just the phenomena of extension that has sharply and negatively deformed its spatial appearance. Under such circumstances, the embellishment and preservation of this quarter has required great efforts.

The houses at 87 Ma May and 38 Hang Dao are two projects of embellishing ancient houses, launched at the occasion of 990th anniversary of Thang Long -Ha Noi. They became now a tourist spot to be presented to visitors in terms of architectural value of Ha Noi’s ancient houses.

The house at 87 Ma May is a place to present the typical architecture of Ha Noi’s ancient houses. The ancient houses have generally a small, pretty form and appearance like the Vietnamese people themselves. Following the former feudal ideology, houses were not allowed to be higher than the shoulders of the King;s palanquin, because when the King was in his palanquin, nobody was allowed to see the face of His Excellency.

The ancient houses had a tube – like shape. Their width is usually narrow, sometimes only of 2m, while their length can amount up to 60 – 70m. Under such circumstances, to get enough light and fresh air, there is always a yard between houses. The principal construction material used is wood. However, during 100 recent years, people began to use bricks and traditional mortar made from honey and leaves to build walls or stick tiles on slope roofs. The window bars, doors and roof rafters are all decorated with dragon – or phoenix – shaped vignettes, and other designs.

The house at 87 Ma May was identified to be about 110 years old. Originally, Ma May Street consisted of two shorter streets: the first section was Hang May street, where goods made from rattan were marketed, and the second one constituted a part of Hang Ma Street with things for sacrifices made from paper. In this street there were numerous businessmen, both domestic and foreign. In 1954, five Chinese families came and installed themselves in this house. That is why the house was strongly deformed, and the traditional architecture was damaged.

Originally, the ancient house at 38 Hang Dao was constructed as communal house of Dong Lac – a communal house of the former marketplace for silk brassieres. It was built under the Le Dynasty (17th century). During the years of war, it was heavily damaged. Around 1856 (year of Binh Thin under the King Tu Duc reign), it was restored for the first time. In 1941 (15th year of the King Bao Dai reign), the communal house was rebuilt as a two – floor construction. The owner’s family lived and made their business in the ground floor, while the first floor was reserved for the altar. In 1953, the house became a shop with miscellaneous goods.

The latest restoration was conducted in the period from February 2000 till April 2000. The house at 38 Hang Dao was chosen as a place for presenting the traditional construction techniques combined with modern restoration techniques. The construction materials used here are composed of reinforced concrete and wood: floors are made from concrete, while stairs are made from concrete and covered with wood.

The doors were designed in such a manner that the central one is higher, while the side ones are lower, following the architecture of ancient pagodas and communal houses: the central door was reserved for the nobles (members of the royal family, mandarins, officials), while the side ones for the mobs. The sanctuary on the first floor was restored just as its origin.

The vignettes on the handrails were kept the same as the available original patterns. The house at 38 Hang Dao has become not only a tourist spot but also a location of the headquarters of the Management Unit of Ha Noi’s ancient quarter. At this address you can also get more information on ancient streets and ancient houses of Ha Noi.

Hanoi Old Quarter or Hanoi 36 Streets

Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi old quarter or Hanoi 36 streets is indeed an earea covering the north-east Hoan Kiem lake. There were 36 streets, each being closely attached to a traditional trade that is clearly shown by its name, such as Hang Muoi (salt) Street selling salt, Hang Manh (curtain) Street selling bamboo curtains, Hang Bac (silver) Street selling silver jewellery, etc.

Hanoi Old Quarter Map

Mentioning the old streets of Hanoi, the essay “Notes taken on rainy days” by Pham Dinh Ho writes: “Dien Hung ward (present-day Hang Ngang) and Dong Lac ward (present-day Hang Dao) are places where many cloths and silk products are sold.” According to Hanoi researcher Nguyen Vinh Phuc, all kinds of papers, such as Giay ban (tissue paper), Giay moi (inferior tissue paper), Giay boi (coarse paper) and other popular papers made by people in Buoi and Cot Villages were sold on Hang Giay Street in the past.

Some streets were named after a legend or special ana, such as Hang Chao (rice porridge) Street which was the place selling rice porridge to candidates who came to the capital to attend “Thi Hoi” (National Examination) and “Thi Dinh” (Court Examination) or Trang Tien Street near Hoan Kiem Lake where once existed a coin casting workshop of the Nguyen Dynasty (the 19th century).

At present, the number of old streets in Hanoi is a matter of controversy because someone said that 36 is only a symbolic number. However, it is correct to say that people on each old street engaged in a trade. In the past, people from all parts of the country flocked to the capital to set themselves up in business. Following the trade motto “It needs friends when trading and it needs to establish guilds when selling”, they lived together in one place and gradually established guilds specializing in trades and products.

Due to this unique feature, Hanoians usually think of one street where they can buy what they want. For example, the locals usually venture to Hang Manh Street to buy bamboo curtains, Thuoc Bac Street to buy medicinal herbs, Hang Chieu Street to buy mats, etc.

Hanoi is undergoing drastic changes daily and the old quarter with “Hang” streets are also affected by the process of development. Hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, etc., have mushroomed on these streets, so only a few streets with the traditional trades remain, such as Hang Bac, Hang Ma, Hang Manh, Hang Chieu, Hang Dong, etc.

The others have engaged in other trades, for example, Hang Than Street now sells Banh com (green rice flake cakes), teas and cigarettes in service of wedding ceremonies; Hang Vai Street sells bamboo products; Hang Chao sells mechanical and electric products to meet the demand of customers in the modern life. In addition, many new streets with new trades have been established in Hanoi, such as Hai Ba Trung Street selling electronic products, Ly Nam De Street selling computers, Luong Van Can Street selling children toys, Hoang Hoa Tham Street selling ornamental trees and Dang Dung Street selling second-hand mobile telephones.

Strolling through the old quarter or “36 streets” of Hanoi one can perceive the beauty as well as typical feature of these streets which should be preserved by not only the authorities but also the locals.

Hanoi Presidential Palace

Hanoi Presidential Palace

The Hanoi Presidential Palace is a three-storey structure located on the north of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. You won’t be allowed to enter the palace but you can go around it for a look from outside.

Hanoi Presidential Palace

Presidential Palace stands as a memento of French contribution to the architectural splendor in Indochina. This mustard-yellow palace was built from 1900 to 1906 to function as the living and operational bases of the governors-general of Indo-China. Located on Hung Vuong Street and Hoang Van Thu Street, the designs of this palace were conceived by Auguste Henri Vildieu, the French architect officially appointed for Vietnam.

Hanoi in Vietnam originally grew up around Hoan Kiem Lake. With a history dated back to 3000 years, Hanoi, the capital of a united Vietnam, will impress you with its monuments, scenic beauty and reserves of history imprinted through the strife-torn colonial and political regimes. As you visit Hanoi, you must not miss out the Presidential Palace in Hanoi.

History says that Ho Chi Minh denied staying in Presidential Palace in Hanoi when he returned to independent Vietnam after defeating the French in 1954. He rather began staying in a mere cottage within the premises of the palace from 1954 to 1958. Thereafter, he built a Vietnamese house made of stilt but he continued to use the palace when important guests came to Hanoi.

The tradition continues even now as the palace offers site for official receptions to guests and for other administrative meetings.

Hanoi Presidential Palace Map

Cu Da village Vietnam

Cu Da Village is located on the bank of the Nhue River, about 15 kilometres from center of Hanoi, bearing characters of a Vietnamese village with hundred-year-old banian-trees, rivers, ponds, village wells and ancient mossy walls.

Cu-Da-Village-1

Cu Da villagers still keep traditional and neighbourly lifestyle which has been maintained from generation to generation. So, once visitors coming Cu Da, they will find it easy to inquire the way to some family in the village. This is really a respectfully cultural feature of Cu Da people.

The main village road is built along a riverside, every lane has a gate. The village pagoda is classified as a national relic. It’s Linh Minh Tu and a stone column is inscribed “the pagoda was renovated in 1695.”

Cu-Da-Village-6

Houses in Cu Da are low and deep in length, so they are always cool in summer and warm in winter. Architecture is specified in Nguyen feudalist dynasty, nearly made of wood. On beams, pillars, there are delicate sculptures. In the middle of the houses, there are ancestral altars, panels and parallel scrolls. Houses with the western architectural style mixed with traditional art were built. These were communal houses built under the French-style so that villagers could gather together and make decisions on things of common concern. Each house was numbered like in a big city. Cu Da is among a few Vietnamese villages whose houses were numbered. This has made it so unique, rarely seen in any village in the northern delta area.

Cu-Da-Village-5

On a river bank, there’s a flag-pole built in 1929, a communal house of the village-council, a school. At one end of the village (entry road), there’s a low earthen hill named Dong Gia, it’s thought to be a centuries-old tomb since the old Chinese colony.

Not only well known for a place with many ancient houses and ancestral temples dating back to over one hundred years, the Cu Da Village is also noted for its traditional handicraft of vermicelli making.

Cu Da village map

Cu Da trips you might like