May 07, 2020
Hanoi, besides being the “headquarters” of Vietnam, is also a historical destination. Hanoi is famous for its ancient beauty and the beauty of the Old Quarter. Have you ever heard about the 36 Towns of Hanoi (or Hà Nội 36 phố phường)? It is another name for the Hanoi Old Quarter.
In the Lý - Trần dynasty when the country was open, the Old Quarter was the most crowded trading area. This was also the place where the most skilled workers and craftsmen from the craft villages around Thang Long Citadel came and traded. People from different professions, gathered in different streets and sold different products. As a result, people named every street with the name of it’s profession (or the products that were sold). And the word “Hàng” usually came together with the name of the professions to describe them.
Hàng Bông street (Cotton Street) has many shops selling cushions, mattresses and mattress toppers,...
Hàng Gà street (Chicken Street) has shops selling chickens, geese, ducks etc.
Time flies and many street names have been changed since then or they have changed the type of goods that they sell. One such street is called Hàng Khoai Street (Potatoes Street) which no longer sells potatoes. Hàng Gà street (Chicken street) now offers a wedding invitation printing service. However, there are many streets that have kept their traditional goods up until now. One way or another, The Old Quarter still retains the ancient beauty in its architecture, in its culture, in its cuisine and in its very soul. It is still as intact as it was in the beginning.
Nowadays, when you walk through this area, you are still able to see many ancient houses that are hundreds of years old, with traditional red tile roofs and about 100 long-standing architectural buildings including temples, pagodas and assembly halls. One of them is Bạch Mã temple at Hàng Buồm street, it is one of the four defending temples of the old Thang Long Citadel.
Besides the architecture, “Hanoi’s 36 Towns” has a traditional diversity in its cuisine as well. It is said that this place gathers all of Hanoi’s specialties. You just walk around the town and are able to try all of the famous street foods of Hanoi such as bún đậu mắm tôm (vermicelli and tofu with shrimp paste), phở, bún chả (bbq pork with rice vermicelli), cốm, ốc (snails) and nem chua rán (fried sour pork cake). If you are traveling in Hanoi, you should not miss Hanoi’s 36 towns (or Hanoi Old Quarter). It is a unique and amazing experience that you cannot find anywhere else in the world.