The first thing that struck me as unusual was the smell. In Hanoi, cook on the street and cook always, so the smells cover the city. Moreover, it does not smell of any specific food, but something vague and not so pleasant. This smell is everywhere. However, as it turned out, it happens only when it is stuffy and humid - after the weather changed a little the smell almost disappeared. Or maybe I'm just used to it. :)
The second thing that surprised - huge bundles of wires everywhere. Houses and streets they just braided.
Hanoi city is big - there are open slums and quite decent houses and even skyscrapers.
The tourist center is so called. "The Old Quarter of Hanoi" It consists of many streets, each of which sells only a certain product - for example, jewelry, shoes, etc.
This specialization has remained from the old times, when only the representatives of one profession lived on one street and this is not at all the privilege of the Old Quarter. The same can be seen in completely non-tourist areas, and sell there is not something that tourists buy well, but really necessary things in the household.
In general, this Old Quarter, in my opinion, is the most unpleasant place in the city. Huge crowds wander, eternal noise and din. There are almost no remarkable buildings, on the contrary, the most terrible wreckage is concentrated here. Moreover, the congestion of swindlers of different suits, naturally, exceeds the normal concentration.
And outside this tourist hell, people live their lives and do not pay attention to tourists. That's where it's interesting to walk.
In general, as it is easy to guess, the life of most of the people of Vietnam is not a luxury. Apartments (or rather, rooms) located on the ground floor can be seen right through, because its usually a bench-bedroom. - a small room with open gates to the street, where production on the street and inside they just live.
Furniture usually absent. They sleeping on the floor.
Of course, there may be deviations in both the best and the worse. There are also quite decent, even beautiful houses and, not that the slums, but such places where people seemingly can not live.
I somehow tried to pass through a narrow passage between the houses, but found that it ended in a dead end and came back. So in this passage there are also apartments, and many are small rooms a few square meters, even without windows. At the same time, you can not say that the people living there are somehow dejected by this situation. Some of them hung out in this passage. They communicated, laughed, even joked with me, when I defected past them in the opposite direction.
Closer to the outskirts there are panel high-rise buildings. I'm absolutely not a fan of modern architecture, especially a standard one, but, in this case, it looks better than the so-called. "Old city".
The city is divided into several parts by the river Hongha. Translated as the Red River, but, in fact, it is yellow.
The Red River (Hongha)
One of the bridges - Long Bien, is considered a landmark, because at the time of construction (1902) was one of the four longest bridges in the world.
Long Bien bridge
It so happened that I had to pass this bridge from one end to the other - impressions are eerie. In the middle of the bridge is railway, on the edges - cars, and from the very edge - pedestrian, about one meter wide. This pedestrian road is a tile laid between the corners. I went, and all way thought - these tiles only margins hold, or are they still resting on something? Moreover, the rusty railings on the side are higher, then lower - sometimes considerably below the belt. And the height of the bridge is about 200 meters ... Such an attraction. Who adrenaline is not enough - welcome :)
As for the historical sights. To look at them, of course, it is necessary, but personally, to remember their historicity, I had to strain myself. Still, it's difficult when you know almost nothing about the history of the country. Well, let's try.
The main Hanoi historical lake - Hoan Kiem (Lake of the Returned Sword) is near the Old Quarter. According to legend, a giant tortoise, who lived in the lake, gave a Vietnam hero a sword with which he defeated the Chinese (XIV century). The sword of the tortoise ordered to return back to the lake after the victory.
Turtle Tower (XIX c.)
This famous tortoise on the islands in the lake was put up two monuments - a tower and a temple. It was true that she had to wait for this for 5 centuries. I'm afraid the old lady did not live ...
Temple of the Jade Mountain (Ngoc Son Temple) (XIX c.)
Cathedral of St. Joseph got to Hanoi from the French, who owned Vietnam and the surrounding area from the end of the 19th to the middle of the 20th century.
Cathedral of St. Joseph (XIX c.)
It looks a typical Gothic temple surrounded by typical Asian houses is very strange.
An attraction, dear to the heart of any former Soviet man :) - a monument to Vladimir Lenin. In the Vietnam version - V. I. Le-Nin. The monument is surrounded by a small square, which is used by local residents, like any other Hanoi Square - for morning exercises and rest. I went there just in the morning and admired several elderly couples, who danced as exercises.
The attendant attraction is the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh.
Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh
The attraction called "Citadel of Hanoi" is the remains of the Imperial Palace and the surrounding buildings. In reality, this is more or less original gates (northern and southern) and between them a complex of excavations. Whole buildings that meet there are not related to history, they are restored from scratch.
Near the southern gate is a rather large and very peculiar garden of bonsai. Under the trees, on an appropriate scale, the historical scenes of the life of Vietnam are reproduced.
Some buildings of the museum of the Vietnam Army and the flag tower are also formally part of the Citadel, but they were built much later - in the XIX century.
Flag Tower (XIX c.)
The flag tower was closed to a rusty castle, without any explanation, so it was not possible to climb onto it and survey the neighborhood. Although, I suspect that there is not much to look at there - the area is quite modern.
In the museum, in which the tower is located, the most interesting is the dump of military equipment of the times of the Vietnam-American war in the yard.
Museum of the Vietnam Army
The technique is both trophy American and Vietnam (read Soviet).
Vietnamese MiG ;)
In Hanoi, there are many lakes formed during the floods of the Red River. On the island in the middle of the West Lake is the Pagoda Chan Quoc. Beautiful and quite unusual.
Pagoda Chan Quoc
Tran Quoc Pagoda (XVII-XIX c.)
Pagoda Chan Quoc
Tran Quoc Pagoda (XVII-XIX c.)
The lake is large, its surroundings are a popular holiday destination. The people are walking, sitting on benches. There are even some amusement rides, like renting boats. But here the water there is not too clean...
The Kuan Thanh Temple is formally considered to be one of the oldest in the city, but the current building is the result of the reconstruction of the 19th century.
Quan Thanh Temple (XIX в.)
The same story with a pagoda on one column (or on one leg, here is the subtleties of the translation).
One-Pole Pagoda (XIX c.)
In general, the humid and hot climate of Vietnam does not contribute to the preservation of stone structures, so almost all these ancient temples on closer examination are newfound.
Exception - the Temple of Literature, built in the XI century in honor of Confucius. Since those times, of course, almost nothing remained, but, nevertheless, it is not completely rebuilt, but really ancient buildings.
Temple of literature
Van Mieu (XI c.)
Almost immediately after the foundation, an educational institution was established at the church, therefore it is considered to be the first university in Vietnam.
Temple of literature
Van Mieu (XI c.)
Now there is a tradition to award diplomas to graduates here.
Another original sight - the gate in the Old Quarter, the only thing left of the city wall.
Old Gate (XVII c.)
Of all the museums I most liked of all the National Museum of Vietnamese History. It consists of two buildings in the neighboring streets - ancient history and the history of the 20th century. The first is certainly more interesting.
National Museum of Vietnam History
Bao Tang Lich su Viet Nam