Hanoi : A Fascinating City in Vietnam that Blends Eastern and Western Cultures

Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam and is well-known for its fascinating blend of eastern and western cultures, combining the traditional motifs of Sino-Vietnamese with French flair stemming from its time as a part of French Indochina. This unique twist has helped give the city a mouth-watering spread of cuisine, especially with its street food alongside an interesting history and show of traditional culture and architecture.

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Hanoi : A Fascinating City in Vietnam that Blends Eastern and Western Cultures:table of contents

1. Old Quarter

Photo by Richard Mortel

Our first sightseeing attraction in Hanoi is the Old Quarter, locally known in Vietnam as Phố cổ Hà Nội. It is the name that is commonly given to the portion of the city of Hanoi that has been existing since the imperial times. Such quarter used to be a commercial center, a residential area, and a manufacturing center where each of the streets was specialized in a specific type of commerce. At present, it serves as a sightseeing attraction for tourists and locals who are interested to learn about the history of Hanoi.

2. Hoàn Kiếm Lake

Photo by Vietnam Stock Images/shutterstock.com

Otherwise known as "Lake of the Returned Sword" or just "Sword Lake," Hoàn Kiếm Lake is backed by a charming legend which asserts that an emperor named Lê Thái Tổ was given a magical sword by a Golden Turtle God which he used in battles. After the war, the golden turtle took the sword and disappeared from the lake, returning the sword back to the gods.

3. Thang Long Water Puppet Theater

Photo by Tsuguliev/shutterstock.com

This art form has its roots back in the eleventh century, stemming from a time in history when rice paddies were flooded and the locals would entertain themselves by standing in the water while performing with the puppets over the water.

4. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Photo by Jorge Láscar/Flickr

The final resting place of revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, the mausoleum lets visitors view the embalmed remains of the father of communist Vietnam. The gardens around the building are also lovely and picturesque with over 250 different species of plants and flowers from different regions in Vietnam.

5. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Photo by Richard Mortel

Often overlooked by tourists visiting the city, the museum is a fascinating showcase of the 54 different ethnic groups found around the country. Inside the museum you'll find over 300,000 objects from artifacts and photographs providing visitors with an insight into the cultural heritage of the different regions and their ethnic minorities spread across the country.

6. Temple of Literature

Right in the center of Hanoi is the Temple of Literature, which hosts the Imperial Academy, the first national university of Vietnam. Constructed in the year 1070 under the administration of Emperor Ly Thanh Tong, the Temple of Literature is one of various temples in Hanoi that are dedicated to Confucius. The Temple of Literature is a great example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture.

7. Duong Lam Ancient Village

Photo by Vietnam Stock Images/shutterstock.com

A little further down the Red River out of the urban area you'll find Duong Lam, Hanoi's oldest village. Offering a great insight into the rich history of Vietnam and a view of how the country was many years ago, the village features a range of different houses and temples showcasing ancient architecture along with the culture, food and traditions that are often lost in the modern metropolis that are growing fast throughout the country.

8. Thanh Chuong Viet Palace

At the edge of the mountains near the outskirts of Hanoi lies the Thanh Chuong Viet Palace built to reflect the country's culture and history through its structures of varied Vietnamese architecture, picturesque ponds and gardens. The grounds are absolutely stunning and warrants a day trip from Hanoi to explore the beautiful area.

Conclusion

There's no shortage of things to see and do in the sprawling capital of Vietnam. Whether you're coming here to enjoy the vibrant cuisine the city is famous for or looking for an insight into the traditional culture and architecture of Vietnam, there's an endless list of activities to keep you occupied.

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