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Hanoi (Vietnamese: Hà Nội) , estimated population 6,232,940 (2008), is the capital and second-largest city of Vietnammarker. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam. It was eclipsed by Huếmarker during the Nguyen Dynastymarker as the capital of Vietnam, but Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954. From 1954 to 1976, it was the capital of North Vietnam.

The city is located on the right bank of the Red Rivermarker. Hanoi is located at , north of Ho Chi Minh Citymarker, formerly called Saigonmarker.

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 citadelmarker (Cổ Loa) 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 Tống Bình () and later Long Đỗ (; literally "dragon's belly"). In 866, it was turned into a citadel and was named Đại La ().

In 1010, Lý Thái Tổ, the first ruler of the Lý Dynasty, moved the capital of Đại Việt (大越, the Great Viet, then the name of Vietnam) to the site of the Đại La Citadel. Claiming to have seen a dragon ascending the Red River, he renamed it Thăng Long (昇龍, 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 Hóamarker, also known as Tây Đô (西, Western Capital). Thăng Long then became Đông Đô (, Eastern Capital).

Tháp Bút (Pen Tower) with a phrase "Tả thanh thiên" [it means "Write on the sky"] next to Hoàn Kiếm Lake (2007)
In 1408, Chinese Ming Dynastymarker attacked and occupied Vietnam, then they renamed Đông Đô as Đông Quan (, Eastern Gateway). In 1428, Vietnamese overthrown the Chinese under the leadership of Lê Lợi who later founded the posterior Le Dynasty and renamed Đông Quan as Đông Kinh (, Eastern Capital - the name known to Europeans as Tonkin. The same characters are used for Tokyomarker, Japanmarker). Right after the end of Tây Sơn Dynasty, it was named Bắc Thành (, Northern Citadel).

In 1802, when the Nguyễn Dynastymarker was established and then moved the capital down to Huếmarker, the name of Thăng 'Long (昇, "ascending dragon") was modified to become different Thăng 'Long (昇, to ascend and flourish). In 1831 the Nguyen emperor Minh Mang renamed it Hà Nội (, can be translated as Between Rivers or River Interior) . Hanoi was occupied by the Frenchmarker in 1873 and passed to them ten years later. It became the capital of French Indochina after 1887.

The city was occupied by the Japanesemarker in 1940, and liberated in 1945, when it briefly became the seat of the Viet Minh government after Hồ Chí Minh proclaimed the independence of Việt 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 May 29, 2008, it was decided that Ha Taymarker province, Vinh Phucmarker's Me Linh district and 4 communes of Luong Sonmarker 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 with the new population being 6,232,940. The Hanoi Capital Region (Vietnamese: Vùng Thủ Đô Hà Nội), a metropolitan area covering Hanoi and 6 surrounding provinces under planning will have an area of 13,436 square kilometers with a population of 15 million by 2020.

On August 1, 2008, Hanoi absorbed the neighboring province of Ha Taymarker, Vinh Phucmarker's Me Linh district, and four communes from Luong Sonmarker, Hoa Binhmarker, 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. Under the Koppen climate classification, Hanoi features a warm humid subtropical climate. 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 not including the wind chill, while summer can get as hot as .


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 Technologymarker 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.
Hanoian pupils

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.


As the capital of Vietnam for almost a thousand years, Hanoi is considered to be one of cultural centres of Vietnam, where most of Vietnamese dynasties had 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, includingover 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 Đồng Xuân 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 Literaturemarker (Văn Miếu), site of the oldest university in Vietnam 1070; One Pillar Pagodamarker (Chùa Một Cột); Flag Tower of Hanoimarker (Cột cờ Hà Nội). 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 Lakemarker, West Lakemarker, Halais Lake (Hồ Thiền Quang) in Vietnamese), and Bay Mau Lake. West Lake (Hồ Tây) 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 Housemarker, The State Bank of Vietnam (formerly The Bank of Indochina), The Presidential Palacemarker (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:


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. 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.


With its rapid growth and extremely high population density, several modern shopping centers have been built in Hanoi.


Hanoi has rich food traditions and many of Vietnam's most famous dishes, such as phở, chả cá, bánh cuốn and cốm are thought to come from Hanoi. Perhaps most widely known is Phở, 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. Two varieties dominate the Hanoi scene: Phở Bò, containing beef, and Phở Gà, containing chicken.


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 Airportmarker, located in the Soc Son District, approximately 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 (tàu Thống Nhất) 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 part.

Similar to Ho Chi Minh Citymarker, 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 Taymarker, 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.

Sport centers

There are several gymnasiums and stadiums throughout the city of Ha Noi. The biggest ones are My Dinh National Stadiummarker (Le Duc Tho Boulevard), Quan Ngua Sporting Palace (Van Cao Avenue) and Hanoi Water Sport Complex. 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. A 32.1 million-dollar indoor hall is currently under construction for the event in My Dinh area.

Health care and other facilities

Some medical facilities in Hanoi:


Hà Nội is divided into 10 inner districts, 1 town and 18 outer districts. ( Hà Đôngmarker has been transform to an inner district, and Sơn Tâymarker has been degraded to a town)

Subdivisions of Hà Nội
Provincial Cities/Districts Wards Area (km2) Population
1 town
Sơn Tâymarker (West of the Mountain) 15 113.474 181,831
10 Urban Districts (Quận)
Ba Đình (Three Temples) 14 9.224 228,352
Cầu Giấy (Paper Bridge) 8 12.04 147,000
Đống Đa 21 9.96 352,000
Hai Bà Trưng (The Trung sisters) 20 14.6 378,000
Hà Đôngmarker (East Bank of the River) 17 47.917 198,687
Hoàn Kiếm (Sword Recurrent) 18 5.29 178,073
Hoàng Mai (Yellow Plum) 14 41.04 216,277
Long Biên (Dragon Fin) 14 60.38 170,706
Tây Hồ (West Lake) 8 24 115,163
Thanh Xuân (Green Spring/Youth) 11 9.11 185,000
Subtotal 145 233.56 2,178,258
18 Rural Districts (Huyện)
Ba Vìmarker 31 + 1 town 428.0 242,600 (1999)
Chương Mỹ 30 + 2 towns 232.9 261,000 (1999)
Đan Phượng 15 + 1 town 76.8 124,900
Đông Anh 23 + 1 town 182.3 276,750
Gia Lâm 20 + 2 towns 114.0 205,275
Hoài Đứcmarker 19 + 1 town 95.3 188,800
Mê Linh 16 + 2 towns 141.26 187,536 (2008)
Mỹ Đức 21 + 1 town 230.0 167,700 (1999)
Phú Xuyên 26 + 2 towns 171.1 181,500
Phúc Thọmarker 25 + 1 town 113.2 154,800 (2001)
Quốc Oai 20 + 1 town 136.0 (2001) 146,700 (2001)
Sóc Sơn 25 + 1 town 306.51 254,000
Thạch Thất 22 + 1 town 128.1 149,000 (2003)
Thanh Oai 20 + 1 town 129.6 142,600 (1999)
Thanh Trì (Green Ponds) 15 + 1 town 98.22 241,000
Thường Tín 28 + 1 town 127.7 208,000
Từ Liêm 15 + 1 town 75.32 240,000
Ứng Hòa 28 + 1 town 183.72 193,731 (2005)
Subtotal 399 + 22 towns 3,266.186 3,872,851
Total 559 + 22 towns 3,344.47 6,232,940

Sister cities


Image:javatuan_golden_hanoi.jpg|Golden HanoiImage:javatuan_hanoi_spring.jpg|Spring is out there (Hanoi old quarter)Image:javatuan_hanoi_window.jpg|Open window of an old house, Nguyen Sieu streetImage:javatuan_hanoi_winter_window.jpg|Winter window "Nghe bâng khuâng mùa đông, mùa đông, ô cửa sổ xa vắng"Image:Hanoi temple de la litterature 1.jpg|The Temple of LiteraturemarkerImage:EOS_6341_raw.jpg|The Temple of Literaturemarker, steles with names of those successful at the imperial examsImage:EOS_6351_raw2.jpg|The Temple of Literaturemarker, main hall

image:Chua_mot_cot.jpg|One Pillar Pagodaimage:Phu_toan_quyen_2.jpg|Presidential Palace, Hanoimarker (formerly Place of The Governor-General of French Indochina)image:vietnam national convention center.jpg|Vietnam National Convention Centermarker on Pham Hung Boulevardimage:Hanoi_Oper.jpg|Hanoi Opera Housemarkerimage: Bacbophu.jpg|State Guest House

image:CathedraleSTJosephHanoi.jpg|The cathedral St-Joseph

Image:Hoan_Kiem_Lake_BW.jpg|Hoan Kiem Lakemarker

image:bao_tang_my_thuat.jpg|National Museum of Fine Artimage:bao_tang_lich_su.jpg|National Museum of History

See also


Further reading

External links

Long Bien bridgemarker

image:Le thai to street hanoi.jpg|A busy streetimage:Ho chi minh mausoleum 2.jpg|Ho Chi Minh Mausoleummarkerimage:ha_noi_from_nikko.jpg|Park of Reunification (former Lenin park)image:Sen_hanoi.jpg|Selling lotus flowers in the streetImage:LongBienBridgeHanoi1.jpg|Long Biên Bridge seen from a rural island looking towards the city centreImage:OldHanoiStreetScene1.jpg|Hanoi's Old Quarter on the eve of TếtImage:LyThaiToStatueHanoi1.jpg|Statue of Lý Thái Tổ, emperor and dynasty founderImage:HanoiHiltonKelisi1.jpg|Hỏa Lò, or the "Hanoi Hilton"

Image:Hanoi_cho_dong_xuan.jpg|Dong Xuan marketImage:Hanoi_ho_hoan_kiem.jpg|Hoan Kiem lakeImage:Hanoi_chua_tran_quoc_1.jpg|Tran Quoc pagodaImage:Hanoi_chua_tran_quoc_2.jpg|Tran Quoc pagodaImage:Hanoi_dhyk.jpg|Ha Noi's University of MedicineImage:Hanoi_van_mieu.jpg|Temple of literatureFile:EarthHourBanner-21032009900.PNG|Hanoi with Earth Hour 2009Image:Hanoi_familia.JPG|Hanoian familyImage:Hanoi_rain.JPG|Hanoian women cycling in the rain

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