Hanoi estimated population 6.232.940 (2008), is the capital and second-largest city of Vietnam. From 1010 until 1802, with a few brief interruptions, it was the political centre of an independent Vietnam. It was eclipsed by Hu? during the Nguyen Dynasty as the capital of Vietnam, but Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina from 1887 to 1954. From 1954 to 1976, it was the capital of North Vietnam.
The city is located on the right bank of the Red River. Hanoi is located at 21°2N 105°51E / 21.033°N 105.85°E / 21.033; 105.85Coordinates: 21°2N 105°51E / 21.033°N 105.85°E / 21.033; 105.85, 1760 km (1094 mi) north of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly called Saigon.
On May 29 2008, it was decided that Ha Tay province, Vinh Phuc's Me Linh district and 4 communes of Luong Son district, Hoa Binh is merged into the metropolitan area of Hanoi from August 1 2008. Hanoi's total area increased to 334,470 hectares divided into 29 subdivisions. The new population is 6,232,940. October 2010 will officially mark 1000 years of the establishment of the city.
Hanoi has been inhabited since at least 3000 BC. One of the first known permanent settlements is the Co Loa citadel founded around 200 BC.
Hanoi has had many names throughout history, all of them of Sino-Vietnamese origin. During the Chinese domination of Vietnam, it was known as Thang Binh and later Long (literally "dragon's belly"). In 866, it was turned into a citadel and was named Dai La
In 1010, Ly Thai To, the first ruler of the Lý Dynasty, moved the capital of Dai Viet(the Great Viet, then the name of Vietnam) to the site of the Dai La Citadel. Claiming to have seen a dragon ascending the Red River, he renamed it Thang Long (Ascending dragon) - a name still used poetically to this day. It remained the capital of Vietnam until 1397, when the capital was moved to Thanh Hóa, also known as Tây Do(Western Capital). Thang Long then became Dong Do(Eastern Capital).
In 1408, Vietnam was invaded by Chinese troops from the Ming Dynasty and ?ông ?ô was renamed Dong Quan (Eastern Gateway) by the Chinese. In 1428, Vietnam was liberated from Chinese rule by Lê Loi, the founder of the Le Dynasty and Dong Quan was renamed Dong Kinh (Eastern Capital - the name known to Europeans as Tonkin. The same characters are used for Tokyo, Japan). During the Tay Son Dynasty, it was named Bac Thanh(Northern Citadel).
Hoan Kiem Lake in the centre of Hanoi, with the streets of the old town in the background (1999)
Tháp Bút (Pen Tower) with a phrase "Ta thanh thiên" [it means "Write on the sky"] next to Hoan Kiem Lake (2007)
In 1802, when the Nguyen Dynasty was established and then moved the capital down to present-day Hue, it was renamed Thang Long ( "ascending dragon"). However, the second syllable of the toponym is actually a homonym of the word long, and so, actually suggests “to flourish” as opposed to “dragon”. Therefore, the name would then have appeared as, roughly to ascend and flourish. In 1831 the Nguyen Dynasty renamed it Hà Noi ( can be translated as Between Rivers or River Interior) . Hanoi was occupied by the French in 1873 and passed to them ten years later. It became the capital of French Indochina after 1887.
The city was occupied by the Japanese in 1940, and liberated in 1945, when it briefly became the seat of the Viet Minh government after H? Chí Minh proclaimed the independence of Viet Nam. But the French came back and reoccupied the city in 1946. After nine years of fighting between the French and Viet Minh forces, Hanoi became the capital of an independent North Vietnam in 1954.
During the Vietnam War Hanoi's transportation facilities were disrupted by the bombing of bridges and railways, which were, however, promptly repaired. Following the end of the war, Hanoi became the capital of Vietnam when North and South Vietnam were reunited on July 2, 1976.
On August 1, 2008, Hanoi absorbed the neighboring province of Ha Tay, Vinh Phuc's Me Linh district, and four communes from Luong Son, Hoa Binh, effectively tripling its size.
Hanoi experiences the typical climate of northern Vietnam, where summers are hot and humid, and winters are relatively cool and dry. The summer months from May to September receive the majority of rainfall in the year (1,682 mm rainfall/ year). The winter months from November to March are relatively dry, although spring then often brings light rains. The minimum winter temperature in Hanoi can dip as low as 6–7°C (43°F) not including the wind chill, while summer can get as hot as 38–40°C (100-104°F).
Indochina Medical College, taken in early 20th century (now: Hanoi Medical University)
Hanoi, as the capital of French Indochina, was home to the first Western-style universities in Indochina, including: Indochina Medical College (1902) - now Hanoi Medical University, Indochina University (1904) - now Hanoi National University, and École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de L'Indochine (1925) - now Hanoi University of Fine Art.
After the Communist Party took control over Hanoi in 1954 with support from the Soviet Union, many new universities were built, among them, Hanoi University of Technology remains the largest technical university in Vietnam.
Hanoi is the largest centre of education in Vietnam. It is estimated that 62 % of the scientists in the whole country are living and working in Hanoi. Admissions to undergraduate study are through entrance examinations, which are conducted annually and open for everyone (who has successfully completed his/her secondary education) in the country. The majority of universities in Hanoi are public, although in recent years a number of private universities have started their operation. Thang Long university, founded in 1988, by some Vietnamese mathematics professors in Hanoi and France is the first private university in Vietnam.
Because many of Vietnam's major universities are located in Hanoi, students from other provinces (especially in the northern part of the country) wishing to enter university often travel to Hanoi for the annual entrance examination. Such events often take place in June and July, during which a large number of students and their families converge on the city for several weeks around this intense examination period. In recent years, these entrance exams have been centrally coordinated by the Ministry of Education, but passing marks are decided independently by each university.
Although there are state owned Kindergartens, there are also many private ventures that serve both local and international needs. Pre-tertiary (elementary and secondary) schools in Hanoi are generally state run although there are some independent schools. Education is equivalent to the K—12 system in the US, with elementary school between grades 1 and 5, middle school (or junior high) between grades 6 and 9, and high school from grades 10 to 12.
Hanoi Opera House
As the capital of Vietnam for almost a thousand years, Hanoi is considered to be the cultural centre of Vietnam, where every dynasty has left behind their imprint. Even though some relics have not survived through wars and time, the city still has many interesting cultural and historic monuments for visitors and residents alike. Even when the nation's capital moved to Hue under the Nguyen dynasty in 1802, the city of Hanoi continued to flourish, especially after the French took control in 1888 and modeled the city's architecture to their tastes, lending an important aesthetic to the city's rich stylistic heritage. The city boasts more than 1,000 years of history, and that of the past few hundred years has been well preserved.
Hanoi hosts more cultural sites than any city in Vietnam, including over 600 pagodas and temples.
The Old Quarter, near Hoan Kiem lake, has the original street layout and architecture of old Hanoi. At the beginning of the 20th century the city consisted of only about 36 streets, most of which are now part of the old quarter. Each street then had merchants and households specialized in a particular trade, such as silk traders, jewellery, etc. The street names nowadays still reflect these specializations, although few of them remain exclusively in their original commerce. The area is famous for its small artisans and merchants, including many silk shops. Local cuisine specialties as well as several clubs and bars can be found here also. A night market (near Dong Xuan market) in the heart of the district opens for business every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening with a variety of clothing, souvenirs and food.
The Temple of Literature , main entry
Hoan Kiem lake by night
Some others prominent places are: The Temple of Literature, site of the oldest university in Vietnam 1070; One Pillar Pagoda, Flag Tower of Hanoi . In 2004, a massive part of the 900 year old citadel was discovered in central Hanoi, near the site of Ba Dinh square.
A city between the rivers, built from lowland, Hanoi has many scenic lakes and sometime is called "city of lakes". Among its lakes, the most famous are Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake, Halais Lake , and Bay Mau Lake. West Lake is a popular place for people to spend time. It is the largest lake in Hanoi and there are many temples in the area. There are small boats for hire and a floating restaurant.
Under French rule, as an administrative centre for the French colony of Indochina, the French colonial architecture style became dominant, many examples remain today: the tree-lined boulevards (e.g. Phan Dinh Phung street), The Grand Opera House, The State Bank of Vietnam (formerly The Bank of Indochina), The Presidential Palace (formerly Place of The Governor-General of French Indochina), the cathédrale St-Joseph, and historic hotel Sofitel Metropole.
Hanoi is also home to a number of museums:
* National Museum of Vietnamese History
* Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts
* Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
* Vietnam Museum of Revolution
* Hanoi Hilton
* Ho Chi Minh Museum
* Contemporary Arts Centre
* Vietnam Military History Museum
Water Puppet theatre (Traditional theatre)
A variety of options for entertainment in Hanoi can be found throughout the city. Modern and traditional theaters, cinemas, karaoke bars, dance clubs, bowling alleys, and an abundance of opportunities for shopping provide leisure activity for both locals and tourists. With its rapid growth and extremely high population density, several modern shopping centers have been built in Hanoi. Vincom City Towers, Big C Thang Long Supercenter, Ruby Plaza, Parkson Viet Tower and Trang Tien Plaza. The number of art galleries exhibiting Vietnamese art has sky rocketed in recent years. Among them are renowed ones such as "Nhat Huy" of Huynh Thong Nhat.
Hanoi has rich food traditions and many of Vietnam's most famous dishes, which are thought to come from Hanoi. Perhaps most widely known is Pho - a simple rice noodle soup often eaten as a breakfast dish in the home or at streetside cafes, but also served in restaurants as a meal.
Hanoian girls wearing traditional costume Áo dài during APEC Summit 2006
Hanoi's population is constantly growing (about 3.5% per year), a reflection of the fact that the city is both a major metropolitan area of Northern Vietnam, and also the country's political centre. This population growth also puts a lot of pressure onto the infrastructure, some of which is antiquated and dates back from the early 20th century.
The number of Hanoians who settled down for more than three generations is likely to be very small as compared to the overall population of the city. Even in the Old Quarter, where commerce started hundreds years ago and was mostly a family business, many of the street-front stores nowadays are owned by merchants and retailers from other provinces. The original owner family may have either rented out the store and moved to live further inside the house, or just moved out of the neighbourhood altogether. The pace of change has especially escalated after the abandonment of central-planning economic policies, and relaxing of the district-based household registrar system.
Hanoi's telephone numbers have been increased to 8 digits to cope with demand (October 2008). Subscribers Telephone numbers have been changed in a haphazard way.
Motor scooters dominate the roads in the Old Quarter (2007)
Hanoi is served by Noi Bai International Airport, located in the Soc Son District, approximately 40 km (25 miles) north of Hanoi. Noi Bai is the only international airport for the northern regions of Vietnam.
There are two main highways linking the airport and city. The route to the city via Thang Long Bridge is more direct than Highway 1, which runs along the outskirts of the city. The main highways are shared by CARS, motor scooters, with separate lanes by the side for bicycles. Taxis are plentiful and usually have trip meters, although it is also common to agree on the trip price before taking a taxi from airport to the city centre. Tourists also sometimes tour the city on cyclos especially in the Old Quarter.
Hanoi is also the origin departure point for many Vietnam Railways train routes in the country. The Union Express runs from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City from Hanoi station (formerly Hang Co station), with stops at cities and provinces along the line. Trains also depart Hanoi frequently for Hai Phong and other northern cities.
The main means of transport within the city are motorbikes, buses, taxis, and bicycles. Motorbikes remain the most common way to move around the city. Public buses run on many routes and fare can be purchased on the bus. For short trips, "xe ôm" (literally, "hug vehicle") motorcycle taxis are available where the passenger sits at the rear of a motorbike.
Hanoi has the highest Human Development Index among the cities in Vietnam.
Industrial production in the city has experienced a rapid boom since the 1990s, with average annual growth of 19.1 percent from 1991—95, 15.9 percent from 1996—2000, and 20.9 percent during 2001—2003. In addition to eight existing industrial parks, Hanoi is building five new large-scale industrial parks and 16 small- and medium-sized industrial clusters. The non-state economic sector is expanding fast, with more than 48,000 businesses currently operating under the Enterprise Law (as of 3/2007)
Trade is another strong sector of the city. In 2003, Hanoi had 2,000 businesses engaged in foreign trade, having established ties with 161 countries and territories. The city's export value grew by an average 11.6 percent each year from 1996—2000 and 9.1 percent during 2001—2003. The economic structure also underwent important shifts, with tourism, finance, and banking now playing an increasingly important role.
Hanoi's business districts are traditionally Hoan Kiem and the neighborhood; and a newly developing Trung Hoa Nhan Chinh in the South Western.
Small scale agriculture just outside the suburban outskirts of northern Hanoi
Similar to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi enjoys a rapidly-developing real estate market. The metropolis's economy growth does not seem correlative to its infrastructure. Overloading population requires a much larger supply of accommodations, while the constructing celerities of both transport system and new urban areas are too low. Not surprisingly, as an effect of this problem, the apartment and real estate fever occur severely during the time. More widespread, the fever even influences Ha Tay, the neighboring province, considered the future development space of the capital. The current most notable new urban areas are central Trung Hoa Nhan Chinh, My Dinh, the luxurious zones of The Manor and Ciputra.
Agriculture, previously a pillar in Hanoi's economy, has striven to reform itself, introducing new high-yield plant varieties and livestock, and applying modern farming techniques.
Together with economic growth, Hanoi's appearance has also changed significantly, especially in recent years. Infrastructure is constantly being upgraded, with new roads and an improved public transportation system.
My Dinh National Stadium
There are several gymnasiums and stadiums throughout the city of Ha Noi. The biggest ones are My Dinh National Stadium (Le Duc Tho Boulevard), Quan Ngua Sporting Palace (Van Cao Avenue) and Underwater Sporting Palace. The others include Ha Noi stadium (as known as Hang Day stadium). It has been decided that Asian Indoor Games will held at Hanoi in 2009.
Health care and other facilities
Some medical facilities in Hanoi:
* Bach Mai Hospital
* Viet Duc Hospital
* Saint Paul Hospital
* 108 Hospital
* L'Hôpital Français De Hanoï
* International SOS