Hanoi is the capital of Socialist Republic of Vietnam. It’s located in the Red River Delta, in the center of North Vietnam. Compare to Ho Chi Minh city – the largest city in Vietnam with many attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, ….- Hanoi is just a small capital . But Hanoi have its own feature that Ho Chi Minh city cannot defeat –  it was the culture centre of Vietnam.

Hochiminh house on stilts

         Hochiminh house on stilts

Hanoi is a sacred land of Viet Nam. In the 3rd century BC, Co Loa (actually belonging to Dong Anh District) was chosen as the capital of the Au Lac Nation of Thuc An Duong Vuong (the King Thuc). Hanoi later became the core of the resistance movements against the Northern invasions.

Located in the middle of the Red River Delta, the town has gradually expanded to become a very populous and rich residential center. At different periods, Hanoi had been selected as the capital city of Vietnam under the Northern domination. In the autumn of Canh Tuat lunar years (1010), Ly Thai To, the founder of the Ly Dynasty (1010-1225), decided to transfer the capital from Hoa Lu to Dai La, and so he re-capitalized it Thang Long (Soaring Dragon). The year 1010 then became a historical date for Hanoi and for the whole country in general. For about a thousand years, the capital was called Thang Long, then changing to Dong Do, Dong Kinh, and finally to Hanoi, in 1831. This sacred piece of land thereafter continued to be the theater of many fateful events.

Throughout the thousand years of its eventful history, marked by destruction, wars and natural calamities, Hanoi still preserves many ancient architectural works including the Old Quarter and over 600 pagodas and temples. Famous sites include the One Pillar Pagoda (built in 1049), the Temple of Literature (built in 1070), Hanoi Citadel, Hanoi Opera House, President Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, and so on.

Hanoi also characteristically contains 18 beautiful lakes such as Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake, and Truc Bach Lake, which are the lungs of the city, with their surrounding gardens and trees providing a vital source of energy.

Many traditional handicrafts are also practiced in Hanoi including bronze molding, silver carving, lacquer, and embroidery. Hanoi has many famous traditional professional handicraft villages such as Bat Trang pottery village, Ngu Xa bronze casting village, Yen Thai glossy silk village.

Nightlife and culture in Hanoi
Hanoi does not have the high-energy nightlife of Ho Chi Minh City. However, the unique blend of modern and traditional, eastern and European, and the colorful local culture can make for a number of exciting evenings

Water Puppet

                        Water Puppet

For example , water puppetry is a unique performance art. Thang Long Theater on Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi’s Old Quarter is the best venue for such performances. The puppets are made from wood, and the traditional folk tales are portrayed while a live band performs traditional songs. Though the theater’s seats will force tall people to bend their legs in uncomfortable ways, this is on of the most unique and rewarding experiences in Hanoi.

That’s one of the reason why Hanoi is a great place to experience both traditional and modern Vietnamese culture. The unique blend of local and international flavors makes Hanoi an exciting, even magical, place to visit.