Bãi Cháy bridge was selected among 20 typical works after Doi Moi period, according to Vietnamese Architecture Association.
The list of 20 typical works after Doi Moi period was made by the Selection Committee which includes famous and experienced architecturers, artists, journalists, historians, etc.
The bridge started to be constructed on May 2003 by the Japan’s joint partners Shimizu-Sumitomo-Mitsui and the Transport Ministry’s Project Management Unit No 18 and was completed on December 2, 2006. The main bridge will be 903 meter long and 25.3 meter wide, with a clearance height of 50 meters, allowing 50,000-tonne vessels to pass through.
This is the type of cable-stayed bridge which has two outer span, reinforced concrete box beams prestressed with the width of the world record pace for this type of bridge.
The finance for the bridge worth VND 2.1 trillion (US$134 billion) primarily came from the Japanese official development assistance loans.
Spanning the Cửa Lục Straits in halong City and connecting Bãi Cháy with Hòn Gai, after opening to traffic, the bridge plays an important part in facilitating traffic on National Highway No 18, which links Hạ Long City and Hà Nội, and boosting the economy of not only Quảng Ninh but also the northern port city of Hải Phòng and Hà Nội.
Collected by Vietnam hotel
Over 1,000 years of establishment and development, Hanoi has become the national cultural, economic and political center of Vietnam, where most Vietnamese dynasties have left their imprint as well as cultural and historical vestiges still remained at museums in Hanoi.
The system of museums in Hanoi are the richest collection of documents on lands and people of Vietnam in general, Hanoi in particular. They play an important role in preservation and promotion of the local cultural and historical values which serve study tours by school pupils, students or other visitors.
In the system of national museums of the country, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is both a research centre and a public museum exhibiting the ethnic groups of Vietnam. The mission of the Museum is scientific research, collection, documentation, conservation, exhibition and preserving the cultural and historic patrimony of the nation’s different ethnic groups. The museum also serves to guide research, conservation, and technology that are specific to the work of an ethnographic museum.
Vietnam Fine Arts Museum is considered as one of the most crucial museums in maintaining and promoting the treasure of cultural, artistic heritages of Vietnamese ethnic communities. Visiting the Museum, viewer can understand the entire history of Vietnam fine arts through the collections, exhibits that are displayed here.
Located on the Tong Dan street, the museum of Vietnamese Revolution was established in August 1959 in a two-storey building. It was redesigned into 30 galleries and as of 2008 contains in excess of 40,000 historical exhibits.The visit to Museum would be a time to understand the changing times of the society that ranges from the Vietnamese streets to the seats of power. The objects on display offer insight into the culture of Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh Museum is located in the same compound with the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Presidential Palace. It was established during 1985 – 1990. It has a collection of 3000 paintings and 700 artifacts. The five-storey building of the museum is divided into thematic units. Next to the museum is Ho Chi Minh mausoleum surrounded by well-kept gardens and guarded by soldiers. The embalmed body of the Vietnamese leader is preserved in a glass sarcophagus.
Recently, the museum of Hanoi was built to celebrate the Thang Long-Hanoi 1,000 year anniversary event. This is a modern architectural structure with the total area 53,000m2 on Pham Hung street. Exhibits will be drawn from a collection of some 17,000 documents and artifacts relating to the history of the ancient capital.
In the process of globalization, museum is considered not only the “linking bridge” of the past, present and future, but also cultural communities. Naturally, the values of culture and history are highlighted the key elements of tourist products to attract visitors.
Museum has enough potentials and advantages of a tourist attraction where can satisfy the cultural and spiritual demands of visitors.
However, to combine tourism and museums, diversifying and improving the quality of tourist products are one of the most important solutions to museum tourism. These include the quantity and quality of the original objects, forms (colour, sound, light… ) on display and tourist services (souvenir shops, restaurants…).
In addition, the content and methods of interpretation significantly contribute to “display language” – the voice of original objects which helps tourists to acquire knowledge about culture and history through objects on display.
Furthermore, the tourist products in museums should avoid the duplication of content and forms on display to fully exploit potentials of museum tourism.
Collected by Vietnam hotel
Hanoi’s Old Quarter is one of the most exciting parts of the city for tourists but for many residents it’s far from glamorous.
To Vietnamese the Old Quarter in Hanoi is known as Pho Co, which means ‘Ancient Streets’. This is indeed the oldest part of Hanoi’s urban core. Only the recently excavated foundations of the Thang Long citadel could compete. But that was the Royal compound – a sealed, planned seat of power, where the country’s elite lived away from the thronging masses.
The Old Quarter is the descendent of Thang Long- Hanoi’s first urban gathering of commoners. A market town – once known as Ke Cho – sat on the outskirts of the Royal Citadel. This organic settlement grew through the centuries. From the 15th to 18th centuries it had a vibrant riparian trade on a par with Venice, according to European visitors. In the early 13th century, workshops started to cluster around the palace walls, slowly evolving into craft cooperatives, or guilds. Skilled craftsmen migrated to the Old Quarter, and artisan guilds were formed by craftsmen originating from the same village and performing similar services.
Inhabitants of each street came from the same village, so streets became synonymous for certain goods while also developing a homogeneous look. That’s how the street names were born. Hang Bac (Silver Trading Street), for example, started out as a silver ingot factory under the reign of Le Thanh Tong (1469-1497). Hang Thiec (Tin Trading Street) was home to set of tinsmiths. The craftsmen originally produced small tin cone-shaped tips to preserve the shape of the traditional conical hats – non. No prizes for guessing that on nearby, Hang Non, lived the hatters.
The Old Quarter is still faithful to much of its original essence. It’s still teeming with trade. It’s also now partly the city’s “backpacker quarter” with plenty of cheap hotels, guesthouses, travel agents, late night watering holes, pirate DVDs and gift shops selling knock-off clobber, propaganda art or simple souvenirs.
Some of the streets have a striking dual identity, partly traditional, partly modern – one side of Lan Ong is filled with apothecaries selling Chinese herbal remedies, roots and medicinal teas, the other half is dominated by childcare shops flogging diapers and kiddies clothes.
One European visitor, Samuel Bacon, who came to the city in 1685, noted how “all diverse objects sold in this town have a specially assigned street”, delighted at the sight of a shoe stall at the end of a street dedicated to manufacturing shoes. Over 300 years later, things have inevitably deviated and in some case the names got left behind. Now most people shop for shoes on Hang Dau (oil trading street).
The “street life” makes it a thrilling destination for tourists. It’s also one of the reasons why Hanoi has been described by Frommer’s as Asia’s most Asian city – the place is alive from dawn. Even without the traders, shoppers, and tourists, it would be a crowded place. It’s one of the most congested urban zones in the world with an estimated 84,000 people per kilometre.
This is not a place where you come to chill out. The tourists who fall in love with this part of Hanoi are the ones that like to get involved – haggling in shops, slurping noodles or drinking bia hoi on the pavement, and seeing the lighter side of getting harangued by the know-it-all postcard sellers or the shoeshine boys.
But the streets’ façade masks a darker side to life in the Old Quarter. If the tourists were to wander down the damp, cramped alleyways, they would find many people are living in squalor.
One resident, Nguyen Thi Van, owns a 17sqm-floor room above a clothes shop on Hang Luoc street, which has no windows. The house’s toilet and kitchen sit side by side. Van lives there with seven member of her family. “I’m lucky enough,” she says. “I know of families of 10 living in a 20sqm room.”
Van’s eldest son just got married last month and wisely decided to break with tradition – normally a newly-wed bride will move in with her husband’s family. They opted to live with her parents. Her other son works as a security guard and he often sleeps at his company’s office.
“If they all lived here, I don’t know how we’d manage,” Van says. In an old French colonial period house on Hang Vai street, much of the original interior is still apparent with wooden staircases, windows and floors. But the place is in a bad state of disrepair. The 18 families who live in the three-storey house are all sick of living in these slum-like conditions.
“We want to repair our home, but we cannot as we are not allowed by the local authorities,” says Do Thi My, one of 90 people living in the house. “The most terrible thing is the toilet – it’s shared by more than 100 people as neighbours use it too,” My says.
Although the Old Quarter’s street outline dates back 500 years, many of the houses in the area were constructed in more recent times – from the beginning of the 20th century and onwards. Homes evolved out of market stalls, before actual streets were formed, and because storekeepers were taxed according to the width of their storefront, storage and living space moved to the rear of the buildings. Consequently, the long and narrow buildings (3m wide and 60m long) were called tube houses.
The houses tend to be interspersed by courtyards or “wells” to permit light into the houses and allow some space for activities like washing or gardening. As Australian geographers Brian Shaw and Roy Jones noted in a paper on heritage conservation in Hanoi, the houses also had a natural air conditioning system: the difference in ambient temperature between the inner courtyards and the outside street created air flow, and the longer the house, the greater the velocity of the flow. The structures were built out of brick cemented together with sugar-cane juice!
But in spite of all the problems, and in spite of the fact that the residents complain bitterly, many inhabitants don’t actually want to move elsewhere. Convenience seems to trump comfort.
“We never think of leaving as it’s so handy living here – we have everything we need all around shops, markets, schools for children,” says Pham Thi Bich, who lives on Hang Dong, who shares a 36sqm-house with four households.
“We are used to this lifestyle. And we depend on our shop at the front of the house. If the State forces us to relocate, how will we earn a living?”
Restoration of such an overcrowded and chronically outdated infrastructure is quite literally the million-dollar question. Over the past few years, UNESCO, Sida and other organisations have tried to come up with a feasible solution. Recently, a pilot project to renew a short section of Ta Hien street was approved – the first tentative step towards tackling this thorny issue.
The VND10 billion ($526,300) renewal project was funded by Hoan Kiem district authorities with additional financial and technical support from France. A new electricity system will be installed, lighting will be improved, homes will have a better water supply and drainage will also be upgraded. The street will also get more trees and the pavement will be re-paved.
And even though some residents complained they’d lose money from street side business while the project was in progress, perhaps that’s the only answer – a painstaking, gradual renewal, helping the Old Quarter to slowly evolve in a sustainable fashion.
Modern life in Hanoi may seem a million miles from tradition but just 15km north is Cu Da Village – where poignant reminders of history still live on.
The old gate leading Cu Da’s ancient houses
Cu Da Village in Thanh Oai District is the perfect place to spend a lazy Sunday exploring Northern Vietnamese culture.
Cu Da is not only famous for its two specialties of mien (vermicelli made from a kind of tuber plant similar to cassava) and tuong (soya sauce) but also well-known nationwide for its big ancient houses and villas with beautiful architecture typical of Northern Vietnam. The village is an ideal place to explore the culture of the Red River Delta region.
Cu Da Village was a land of rich merchants hundreds of years ago, when almost all villages in Vietnam were still deep in poverty, these two villages were already well-known as prosperous locales that had big brick houses, clean paved roads and well-off people. Besides houses boasting ancient styles of Vietnam, the extrovert merchants in Cu Da also built many French-style villas, very popular at that time.
Today, after more than a hundred years, visitors to the village are still surprised and attracted by the charms of the ancient Viet-styled houses or the French-styled villas, the vaulted gates and the roads paved with slanting bricks. The village has nearly 200 such ancient houses and villas, of which about 50 remain unchanged through time. The main village road runs along Nhue River and every small lane has a vaulted gate. The village also has a pagoda which has been recognized as a national relic. The houses, the roads, the pagoda here feature a beautiful picture of a rich Vietnamese village at the beginning of the 20th century and now are a precious heritage that lures many visitors.
According to the elders, Cu Da Village has existed for hundreds of years. In the past, it was situated in a very good location which was near Nhue River, Ha Dong Town and Thang Long, Hanoi. Nhue River used to be a busy waterway for traders between Hanoi and Cu Da, making the village a centre providing rice, fabric and other commodities for Hanoi.
Therefore, many villagers became very rich and the village was soon built like a town where, unlike other hamlets in Vietnam, all the houses and villas had numbers.
One of them is house No.11, owned by Trinh The Sung. It was built in 1874, and features architecture typical of the Nguyen Dynasty. It was low, mainly made of wood, with delicate carvings on the beams and pillars. The roof was made of yin-yang tiles. There was an ancestral altar, panels and parallel scrolls in the middle of the house.
Not very far away, the two-storey house of Dinh Van Tuong’s family at No. 152 was built in a French style. It was built more than 100 years ago by Tu Bang, a wealthy businessman in the village. Tuong has just bought it for nearly 30 years. The house’s walls, yard, and gate have been covered with moss. Its first storey was decorated with occidental patterns, floor paved with stone tiles. The second floor was ruined in 1947 in a battle against French colonialists. Although the house has been greatly affected by time and war, it is still very charming and attracts a lot of visitors.
Many other ancient houses in this village have similar stories. However, the ancient houses in Cu Da are not being preserved properly due to the rapid urbanization process of the capital. Visitors to Cu Da Village may feel sorry to see such cultural heritages decaying beyond repair.