People in the capital are always proud of “Hanoi 36 streets” with a thousand years of civilization through many Trang An generations and still developing.
Referring to the “36 streets” in Hanoi, everyone knows that it used to be the most crowded area of the capital and also the land of the knowledge, culture, and history of Thang Long people in ancient times. However, perhaps the history and the names of the “36 ancient streets” in Hanoi are very little known. To learn more about the historic “Hanoi 36 streets“, let’s explore with us in the following article.
About Hanoi’s Old Quarter
The Old Quarter is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Hanoi. The Old Quarter now is located in Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi limited by streets of Hang Dau in the north, Phung Hung in the west, Hang Bong, Hang Thung, Hang Gai, and Cau Go in the south, and Tran Quang Khai, Tran Nhat Duat in the east. The “36 ancient streets” of Hanoi is an unofficial dialect of the Old Quarter, as the “36 streets” is a conventional way calling the ancient city which is located both inside and outside the Old Quarter.
According to history, the Old Quarter of Hanoi appeared from the Ly – Tran Dynasties. This was the convergence of the busiest trading – selling activities in Thang Long at that time. Besides, the area was the main residence of the middle and upper classes in the ancient feudal society. Since the Le Dynasty, Hanoi’s Old Quarter became more diverse with the Chinese streets. Also, since the French colonial, there was an additional appearance of the French streets.
As a center of trade of the area with different regions and countries, the cultural exchanges in the old town had been formed very strongly. Besides that, the Old Quarter is also a place saving the bold cultural markers of the ancient Thang Long – Ke market. The most famous feature of the Old Quarter is the traditional craft streets. Craftsmen from the ancient villages around Thang Long gathered here, focusing on each area of their field. The merchant ships can go deeper into of the streets to trade and exchange goods, making the Vietnamese old streets more developed.
Another characteristic of the Old Quarter is the ancient architecture. The ancient houses are mainly pipe house, roofed with tiles and the facades are the stores selling goods. This picture of the ancient houses and tile roofs had gone into painting and poetry. These houses were mainly built in the 18th – 19th centuries that most of them were covered with thatched roofs. There were only some rich houses and Chinese houses roofed with tiles.
The explanations of 36 streets in Hanoi
First, according to the concept of Vietnamese folk, 36 is considered as a number bringing some fortunes. This number is also very familiar in The Art of War with 36 strategies or in the famous “Journey to the West”, it is related to the characteristic Pigsy who has 36 kinds of magic.
Second, according to history, in December 1748, King Le Hien Tong divided Thang Long citadel into 36 areas which were called wards belonged to two districts of Quang Duc and Vinh Xuong. At the end of 19th century, Hanoi had over 50 streets with the names beginning with the letter of “Hang”.
Third, in the literature of Vietnam, it seems that the book “Hanoi – 36 streets” of the famous writer Thach Lam has made many people reading the book default that Hanoi has 36 streets.
The Old Quarter has become a hallmark of Hanoi. Despite the old appearance that the time has covered here, with Hanoi people, it is still a precious gift. Guests will certainly be fascinated by the ancient beauty and traditional cultural values of the Vietnamese old streets.
Interestingly, all the Vietnamese old streets in “Hanoi 36 streets” start with the name “Hang”. There is a lot of questions around the exciting name of these ancient streets. According to many studies on Hanoi culture, the real name of the Old Quarter streets originated from the name of the traditional craft fields. For example, the street selling silver is Hang Bac (Silver street) and the street selling coal is Hang Than (Coal street), etc.
The Old Quarter is like a bass note in the heart of the crowded and noisy capital city. The ancient culture and architecture here are the precious values that history has left. Hopefully, with the above explanations, it will partly help the tourists traveling to Hanoi understand more about the meaning of this attraction. If you love the “nostalgic silence” in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, don’t hesitate to like and share this with others. Thank you.