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Home >> Vietnam >> Hanoi >> Old Quarter

Old Quarter

Hanoi’s Old Quarter, or the 36 Old Streets, is a top special historical vestige and sight-seeing of the capital. Its history, unique architectures, enormous amount and diversity of products and even the everyday life of the residents have attracted many tourists over the years.

Situated to north of the Hoan Kiem Lake, the Old Quarter came into being at the time when King Ly Thai To selected Thang Long (Hanoi) as the country’s capital and decided to build palace there in 1010. Originally a group of workshop villages surrounded the royal palace, and then skilled craftsmen migrated to the Quarter for living in the same guilds, gradually similar products and services were offered on each street, forming theJam Street,Sugar Street,Salt Street, etc. After years of development, the Old Quarter gained its reputation as the business trading area of the Red River Delta and became crowded and lively especially in 15th century.

What makes the streets unique is that many of them remain in their very ancient architectures. In the past, the king stipulated that civilians' houses could not be built higher than the height of the king's “palanquin”. People needed to spend the front room for stores so accordingly they had to widen the length of inside room in order to divide places for manufacturing, living and other different usages. These ones which vividly called “tubular houses” are short and narrow but with great length.

Actually there are now more than 70 streets though the old section ofHanoiis often called the “36 Old Streets”. Some researchers believe that there might have 36 guild locations but not 36 streets in the past. While others guess the number 36 just simply means “many”. No matter the number is, and despite many of the streets no longer sell the products after which they were named, the Old Quarter has become the unique classical feature of Hanoi and one of the desired tourist destinations.

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