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article imageHanoi, ‘city of the rising dragon’, marks Millennial Anniversary Special

By Igor I. Solar     Oct 7, 2010 in Travel
Hanoi - The 1000th Anniversary of the foundation of Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, is being celebrated October 1 to 10, with many events including cultural exhibitions, festivals and the inauguration of major projects.
According to the Complete Annals of Đại Việt (Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư, the ancient 15-volume comprehensive text describing the history of Vietnam), Lý-Thái-To, the first emperor of the Lý Dynasty, decided on 1010 to move the capital of Great Viet (then the name of Vietnam) from Hoa Lu to Dai La. The story tells that when the official retinue of Lý-Thái-To arrived in Dai La, a golden dragon rose from the Red River next to the emperor's boat. This inspired Lý-Thái-To to change the name of the new capital from Dai La to Thăng Long (literally The Rising Dragon). In 1831, Emperor Minh Mang, of the Nguyen Dynasty, renamed the city "Hà Nội", which can be translated as “Between Rivers”.
View of a typical street in Hanoi. A woman wearing a cone straw hat balances on her shoulders large ...
View of a typical street in Hanoi. A woman wearing a cone straw hat balances on her shoulders large trays with fruits and vegetables.
Today, Thăng Long - Hanoi is a city of over 6.5 million people, with 1000 years of history including poetic legends, traditional agriculture, cultural development, and plenty of turmoil resulting from many years of foreign occupation (Chinese, French, and Japanese) and finally, a horrific, devastating war.
A busy road with lots of motorcycle and bicycle traffic.
A busy road with lots of motorcycle and bicycle traffic.
Hanoi has rightly been described as Asia’s most Asian city. Many of the modern Asian metropolises closely resemble big cities in North America or Europe. However, Hanoi retains its exotic Asian atmosphere with hints of its French Indochina colonial past. There is very little public transportation. Most people move around the city on motorcycles, motorcycle-taxis and cyclos (man-powered bicycle taxis). Despite the chaotic traffic, most Hanoi citizens manage to keep a good-natured and friendly attitude. Markets, food stalls and smiley street sellers are everywhere.
Building of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh s body  dead since 1969  is preserved in a cooled...
Building of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh's body, dead since 1969, is preserved in a cooled glass case in the central hall of the mausoleum accompanied by a military honour guard. It is a very formal, silent, respectful process (pictures are not allowed).
The Old Quarter, close to Hoan Kiem Lake, still shows the original street layout and architecture of the old city. Hanoi of the beginning of the 20th century was a town of merchants with small shops sprawled in no more than about 36 narrow streets and tight alleys. At the time, each street was identified by the particular trade of the merchants specializing in specific products, such as silk, jewels or food. The names of the old alleys still reflect those trades, although very few remain dedicated to their original commerce. The area is popular with tourists because of the huge variety of merchants and artisans including many silk shops and local handy-crafts. Small and large food shops and restaurants specializing in local cuisine as well as nightclubs and bars can also be found in the area.
Located in a large garden at the back of the Presidential Palace there is pebble covered road border...
Located in a large garden at the back of the Presidential Palace there is pebble covered road bordered with mango trees that leads to a stilt house. This is the house where "Uncle Ho" lived and worked from May 1958 until his death.
The small office overlooking the garden where Ho Chi Minh worked as President of North Vietnam  duri...
The small office overlooking the garden where Ho Chi Minh worked as President of North Vietnam, during the years of the Vietnam War until his death in 1969.
There are many museums and historic buildings in Hanoi. Remarkable examples are The National Museum of Vietnamese History, The Ho Chi Minh Museum and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Among the Parks, Hoan Kiem Lake and Park, and the Ly-Thai-To Statue and Park are particularly interesting. Water puppets, a very traditional art form, and a must-see for visitors to Hanoi, can be seen at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre located not far from the beautiful red bridge at Hoan Kiem Lake.
The Huc (Morning Sunlight Bridge)  a beautiful red-painted wooden bridge connecting the shore with J...
The Huc (Morning Sunlight Bridge), a beautiful red-painted wooden bridge connecting the shore with Jade Island in Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi.
The celebrations of the Millennial consist of hundreds of activities including exhibitions of economic and social achievements, calligraphy, art and literary works, ancient dances and other cultural performances, festivals for ethnic groups, food, kite flying, antiques, historical films and photography exhibitions, sport activities and martial arts shows, crafts, ornamental trees and flowers, and many more.
The Water Puppets Show  a very traditional art form  at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre located not ...
The Water Puppets Show, a very traditional art form, at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre located not far from Huc Bridge at Hoan Kiem Lake. The show tells several traditional stories with colorful puppets operated with underwater sticks from behind the curtains. The musical enssemble in the left plays music and sings along with the action.
Frommers.com, the travel-guide website has selected Hanoi as one of the ten top world’s destinations for 2010. In its description of Hanoi to potential travelers Frommer’s say:
Vietnam's bustling capital may be a 1,000 years old, but it's a thriving metropolis with a French colonial soul. A cultural center littered with pagodas, temples, and historic monuments, Hanoi offers plenty for the traveler seeking an authentic yet eclectic Asian experience. The eating scene is colorful with excellent meals available at both street-side stalls and fine eateries. Nightlife won't disappoint with the labyrinthine Old Quarter and the area around Hoan Kiem Lake housing dozens of bars from Western ex-pat establishments to disco-infused nightclubs…”
The Statue of Emperor Lý-Thái-To  founder of Hanoi in 1010. Thăng Long - Hanoi  the city of the r...
The Statue of Emperor Lý-Thái-To, founder of Hanoi in 1010. Thăng Long - Hanoi, the city of the rising dragon, celebrates 1000 years of history.
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