Hanoi (or more properly Hà Nội in Vietnamese) is the capital city of Vietnam and has an estimated population of about 6.5 million making it the second-largest city of Vietnam, after the most populous, Ho chi Minh City in the South. From 1010 until 1802, Hanoi was the most important political centre of Vietnam. The city is located on the right bank of the Red River. October 2010 marks the 1000 year anniversary of the establishment of the city.
The Old Quarter of Hanoi, near Hoan Kiem lake, has the original street layout and architecture of old Hanoi. At the beginning of the 20th century the city consisted of only about 36 streets, most of which are now part of the old quarter. Each street then had merchants and households that specialised in a particular trade, such as silk traders, jewellery, food merchants, etc. The street names nowadays still reflect these specialisations, although few of them remain exclusively in their original commerce. The area is famous for its small artisans and merchants, including many silk shops. Local cuisine specialties as well as several clubs and bars can be found here also. A night market in the heart of the district opens for business every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening with a variety of clothing, souvenirs and food.
One of the highlights of the Old Quarter is the visit to the Ngoc Son Temple, located on a small island on a lake. This Temple was constructed in the early 19th century on the foundations of the old Khanh Thuy Palace, which had been built in 1739. The temple is dedicated to Van Xuong, the God of Literature, although the 13th-century hero Tran Hung Dao, the martial arts genius Quan Vu and the physician La To are also worshipped here. The island is linked to the shore by a red, arched wooden bridge, The Huc (Sunbeam) Bridge, constructed in 1875 (seen in the photograph here).
This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.