A mixture of classical and modern beauty
More than special food or ideal weather, many of its great architectural works make Hanoi more impressive to both domestic and international tourists. It is ancient oriental and French styles that breathe a charming beauty into Hanoi architecture, which is considered as the noticeable features of grandest buildings here.
First, the Old Quarter, also known as the “36 streets”, is a must-go destination for every tourist where you effortlessly discover the symbolic beauty of Hanoi architecture. As documented, Hanoi now has 36 streets and the name of each street begins with “Hang” but actually, more than 70 streets is the real number founded in the so-called spiritual symbol of Hanoi.
Located in the middle of Hanoi, a typical house in the Old Quarter consists of three compartments and often a yard. If more space is needed, the house can be extended vertically with more storeys. That’s the way to those tube-shaped houses often created to make air circulated and give more light to the house. The Old Quarter, along with antique brick houses, seems not to be affected by the flow of time and make up a totally different world from the city where tourists will probably get lost on their first trip to Hanoi.
Hanoi architecture in the late 19th century and the early 20th century bears some distinctive imprints of French architecture, which first appeared in Hanoi in 1803 and was attached with the reconstruction of the Hanoi Citadel with the help of four French engineers. In the present day, the features of those French engineering accomplishments factoring in art, structure, and materials remain outstanding.
With their ambition of turning Hanoi into the Indochina’s capital, after taking over Indochina, the French boosted their investment on construction on a large scale. As a result, the large office buildings of the French colonialist administration came into being, namely the Palace of the Governor-General of Indochina, the Palace of the French Resident Superior and the Court. Those building had classical style as their main architectural one.
First introduced in Hanoi around the 1920s, Art Deco architecture was widely used in the 1930s and created a simple but modern architectural style using classic shapes and square, rectangle or semi-cylinder cubes.
Besides, steel decorative patterns and bas-reliefs made of cement and gypsums which are decorated on those architectural works also become part of their gorgeousness. Those 1920s styles can easily be found on numerous places such as Branch office of Indochinese Bank, IDEO Printing House located at 42 Trang Tien St. or AVIA Company based at 39 Tran Hung Dao St., any many others.
In addition, when mentioning Hanoi architecture, it is flawed to miss out the Neo-Gothic architectural style of some great cathedrals here. Apparently, some of its main features are cross-shaped foundation along with a beautiful dome which always matches well with a rose window topping by a bell tower. The 120-year-old Saint Joseph Cathedral located at 40 Nha Chung street is definitely a prime example of this style while the two other representatives are the small church in Hoang Mai District and Tam Village ’s Church. Built-in 1886 by the French, the big church gains a reputation for its Gothic style and is known as the small Paris Cathedral. Actually, its historical and landscape values speak much more than Its aesthetic value. Outside, the statue of Mother Maria-the symbol of Christian is put in front of the church. The cathedral is regarded as a popular gathering place not only for Christians but also many other young couples and non-Christians and has become an ideal place for some stunningly beautiful wedding shots.
In modern society, the appearance of many tall buildings and even skyscrapers brings a modern Hanoi but the capital city still has some ancient corners due to the distinctive design of French architecture. The mingling among such great architectural works and many other attractions has become characteristics of thousand-year-old Hanoi.