Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and is the second biggest city after Ho Chi Minh City with the population of about 7 million people. Hanoi is the centre for Economy, Politic, Culture for the whole country.
Hoan Kiem Lake
Hanoi has been inhabited since at least 3000 BC. The Cổ Loa Citadel in Dong Anh district served as the capital of the Âu Lạc kingdom founded by the Shu emigrant Thục Phán after his 258 BC conquest of the native Văn Lang.
In 197 BC, Âu Lạc Kingdom was annexed by Nanyue, which ushered in more than a millennium of Chinese domination. By the middle of the 5th century, in the center of ancient Hanoi, the Liu Song Dynasty set up a new district called Songping, which later became a commandery, including two districts Yihuai and Suining in the south of the Red River (now Từ Liêm and Hoài Đức districts) with a metropolis (the domination centre) in the present inner Hanoi. By the year 679, the Tang dynasty changed the region's name into Annan (Pacified South), with Songping as its capital.
In order to defeat the people’s uprisings, in the later half of the 8th century, Zhang Boyi , a Tang dynasty viceroy, built Luocheng (La Thanh or La citadel, from Thu Le to Quan Ngua in present-day Ba Dinh precinct). In the earlier half of the 9th century, it was further built up and called Jincheng (Kim Thanh or Kim Citadel). In 866, Gao Pian, the Chinese Jiedushi, consolidated and named it Daluocheng (Dai La citadel, running from Quan Ngua to Bach Thao), the then-largest citadel of ancient Hanoi.
In 938, Ngo Quyen defeated Chinese in Bach Dang River (in the gulf of Tonkin) with very tactical way, finished 1.000 years of Chinese Domination in Vietnam and started the first independent country.
In 944, Ngo Quyen died and Vietnam was divided into 12 regions until 968 when Dinh Bo Linh unified the whole country and based the Capital in Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh. This area was still the Capital under the first Le Dynasty (981 – 1009).
In 1010, Ly Thai To found the Ly Dynasty and moved the Capital to Hanoi area again and named it Thang Long (Ascending Dragon) after seeing Dragon flying up into the sky when he travelled to here.
In 1400, Ho Quy Ly started the Ho Dynasty and move Capital to Thanh Hoa area. Thang Long was changed it’s name into Dong Do (Eastern Capital).
In 1428, Le Loi founded the second Le Dynasty. He chose this city to be the Capital again and named it Dong Kinh (Eastern Capital).
In 1802, Nguyen Anh started the Nguyen Dynasty and Hue was chosen as the Capital for the country. The city was changed it’s name into Hanoi as it is called nowadays. Hanoi means City inside the river as this city is surrounded by Red River and To Lich River.
In 1945, after second world war finished, the last King of Nguyen Dynasty abdicated on 30 August, that marked the end of royal family in Vietnam and on 2nd Sep 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared the independence of Vietnam to start Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Hanoi was chosen again to be the Capital of the country.
From 1946, Hanoi under the control of French until 1954 when French lost to Communist in Dien Bien Phu and they had to leave Vietnam.
From 1954 – 1975, Hanoi was the Capital of Communist Government while Sai Gon was the Capital of South Vietnam.
On 30 Apr 1975, Communist defeated South Vietnam Government and Hanoi become the Capital for the whole country as it is nowadays.
Things to Do in Hanoi:
- Hanoi Old Quarter: Also known as French Quarter. This area started from 1010 when King Ly Thai To chose this area to be the capital for the whole country. In the past Hanoi Old Quarter comprises of 36 streets packed with shops selling typical kinds of goods, each street named for its primary good or service.
- Temple of Literature & Imperial College: Started from 1070 as a temple for worshiping Confucius and extended in 1076 for the study of children on Royal Family. From 1253, It was open to be National College for talent student in the whole country to study.
- Hoa Lo Prison: Known as “Hilton Hanoi” to American Prisoner of War. It was first built by French in 1896 to detain Vietnamese Political Prisoners. During Vietnam War, it was used by the Communist Government to detain American Pilots, who were shot down when they bombed Hanoi.
- Ho Chi Minh Complex: Including Presidential Palace (Built by French for French General Governor during French War), Ho Chi Minh Stilted House (where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked from 1957 to 1969) and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (built from 1973 – 1975) to preserve Ho Chi Minh’s Body.
- Tran Quoc Pagoda: This is the oldest pagoda in Hanoi built from 541 – 547.
- St. Joseph’s Cathedral: Built by Frnech iin 1886.
- Hoan Kiem Lake (returning sword lake): Related to Le Loi King after he defeated Minh Invaders, He returned the magic sword to sacred turtle living in this lake.