Exhibition “Old City”


Celebrating the 69th anniversary of the Capital’s Liberation (October 10, 1954 – October 10, 2023) Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center coordinated with the National Archives Center I to organize the exhibition ” Old City, Old Town”.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries marked important changes in Hanoi under the influence of the French in all fields, especially the fields of planning and construction.

After capturing Hanoi, the French quickly implemented the idea of turning Hanoi into a European-style city by choosing Hoan Kiem Lake as the center and starting point for this plan. Here the French began to build the headquarters administrative agencies of the colonial government apparatus at all levels of Hanoi such as the Tonkin Embassy, the Hanoi Governor’s Office, the Indochina Bank, and the Post Office Department. Hanoi around Francis Garnier Avenue (now Dinh Tien Hoang Street), Paul Bert Street (now Trang Tien and Hang Khay Streets) and Henri Rivière Avenue (now Ngo Quyen Street)…

In particular, along with the plan to destroy Hanoi citadel, the French gradually built a large symbolic political center of the colonial government throughout Indochina in the western area of Hanoi citadel. New European-style streets were opened, such as: Victor Hugo street (now Hoang Dieu street), Carnot Avenue (now Phan Dinh Phung street), Nationale avenue (now Chu Van An street), Républicque Avenue (now Hoang Van Thu street), Brière de l’Isle street (now Hung Vuong street), Puginier avenue (now Dien Bien Phu street), Giovaninelli avenue (now Le Hong Phong street)… Besides that , in this area, the French built the Indochina Governor General’s Palace (1901 – 1905), the Indochina Finance Department (1925 – 1928), Albert Sarraut School (1915).

In Hanoi during this period, in addition to a number of retained works such as: Ky Dai, Doan Mon, dragon citadel in front of Kinh Thien Palace, Hau Lau, Cua Bac – evidence of a glorious historical period that has passed, The French planned and rebuilt the city’s appearance. A traditional Asian-style urban area has gradually transformed and harmonized with new spaces and new Western-style architecture. New neighborhoods, new political and administrative centers were built. The French also gradually expanded the city to the West and South.

“The Old City” is a joint exhibition between the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center and the National Archives Center I. Through archival documents, especially French documents, the exhibition The exhibition focuses on highlighting developments and changes in Hanoi in the fields of planning and construction during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The exhibition introduces about 150 documents and images, including 2 themes:

– City next to the Street

– Hanoi streets – East-West intersection

The exhibition opens to serve visitors from October 6, 2023, at Thang Long Imperial Citadel Heritage Area – Hanoi, 19 Hoang Dieu, Ba Dinh, Hanoi.