Ha Noi

Ha Noi  Travel guide for foreign Tourist


In the fall of 1010, King Ly Thai To (Ly Cong Uan) moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Dai La. On the way, the king saw a vision of a golden dragon ascending from the Red river ( song Hong). The King decided to change Dai La to Thang Long (Ascending Dragon). Thang Long remained the capital city until the end of the Tran dynasty when in 1397, the capital city was moved to Thanh Hoa -Tay Do (Western Capital) and Thang Long became Dong Do (Eastern Capital).Vietnam was invaded by China in 1407, and the city was renamed Dong Quan. In 1428, after ten years of fighting, Le Loi liberated Vietnam and renamed the city Dong Kinh. In 1527, the city was renamed Thang Long. In 1802 when King Gia Long (Nguyen Dynasty) moved the capital city to Hue, the name Thang Long remained but, Long no longer means dragon, Long in this case means prosperity. Ha Noi, was the name given to the city by King Minh Mang in 1831. Ha means river and Noi means within – Ha Noi means within the river.


          Ha Noi in literature

.Most Vietnamese and Westerners are familiar with the phrase Ha Noi ba muoi sau Pho Phuong or Ha Noi 36 districts. This phrase often causes much confusion for most people since, on the one hand Pho means a street or a place for merchants to gather to do business, on the other hand Phuong means a district or a guild of artisans specializing in a particular trade (phuong cheo, phuong tho, etc.). In any case, there is some truth to the use of both descriptions.

Similar to the Guilded age of Europe, Ha Noi’s 36 districts is Vietnam’s version of the guild concept. Long ago, as artisans moved to the capital city to do business, they gathered together in an area as a way to share resources. As a result, many of the streets are named after the crafts that were sold on that street. Pho Hang Bun (Vermicelli), Pho Hang Ma (paper product), Pho Hang Bac (Jewelry) are a few of the streets carrying the name of the products sold on the street.

Today, the 36 pho or old district remains in Vietnamese literature as a quaint and familiar description of this part of Ha Noi. Although many of the streets no longer have the products for which they were named, some still do. Today, on many of the streets, there are still shrines dedicated to the individual diety of the trades for which the streets are named.

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