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St. Joseph's Cathedral, Hanoi
St Joseph's Cathedral, also known as Nhà Thờ Lớn, is the oldest Roman Catholic church in Hanoi. It is located on Pho Nha Chung, or Nha Chung Street, a short distance from the Ho Hoan Kiem, the Lake of the Returned Sword.
St Joseph's Cathedral was known simply as the "Big Church" among the Vietnamese of Hanoi. It was consecrated on the night of Christmas in 1886. The stained glass windows inside the church are the originals dating from its establishment.
To erect the St Joseph's, the French demolished Bao Thien Pagoda, an ancient Vietnamese temple that was standing on the site. It was in fact quite an important pagoda that dates from the 12th century Ly Dynasty.
St Joseph's Cathedral was designed to resemble the Notre Dame of Paris. When the communists took over Hanoi, the Catholic faith suffered three decades of suppression which was only relaxed two decades ago. Mass only resumed at the St Joseph's Cathedral in 1990. Today people once again enjoy freedom of worship. This can be seen on Sundays, when St Joseph's becomes absolutely pack.

History Of Hanoi Old Quarter
During the eleventh century when King Ly Thai To built his palace is when the Old Quarter first appeared. So by the year 2010 Hanoi and the additional 36 old streets became 1000 years old. The Old Quarter was a bunch of workshop villages around the royal palace, but now it is a bunch of guilds or craft cooperatives, and it quickly became teh business trading location of the Red River delta.

Craftsmen with experience moved to the Quarter to live and work along side one another in the same guilds, which were produced especially for artisans executing the same services. The brand new allocation of production and service aided in the making of cooperative system for merchandise transportation to specific streets. Gradually under the French colony, the Old Quarter turned into a marketplace for trade between the local and businessmen from areas like France and India.

Although the vietnam war left Hanoi in bad shape, the Old Quarter still managed to keep its original characteristics that tourists like, especially tourists with a passion for architecture. These houses are not big buildings like what you would see in the city or stilt houses on lines of poles, which were extremely well known within the mountains of Vietnam now a days. They are also referred to as “tubular houses” which are narrow and short but have fantastic length.

In the past, the king stipulated that “building houses higher than the king’s palanquin isn’t allowed”. And due to a lack of population inside a specific area, individuals had to use the front room for stores; the inside room is widened to its length to separate areas for production, dining, and living of every family.

The house is often too small for more than one person to go by at a time. These tubular homes are close to each other and produce the ward down the soil streets; most of the streets were made with brick or stone. These days the streets are asphalted.

Hanoi OLd Quarter Walking

Visitors will really be excited to go to old streets to acquire specialties from stores. Check out this good tourist guide for those who want to go to the Old Quarter, with some names of historic streets: Roasted fish located in Cha Ca, China bowls in Bat Su, shoes and sandals in Hang Dau, jewelry in Hang Bao, accessory for females in Cau Go, combs in Hang Luoc, silk in Hang Gai, fruits in To Tich, and candy in Hang Duong etc.

Moreover, people who visit and people from the city will visit night market along four walking old streets: Hang Duong, Hang Dao, Dong Xuan, and Hang Dao during Friday to Sunday evenings with products on huge sale. You can take a look at our recent article on Most Special Streets in Hanoi Old Quarter for much more.

Recommended Read: Hanoi Walking + Street Food Tour

How to get here

You can reach the Old Quarter in Hanoi in 45 minutes leaving from the Noi Bai Airport and in half the time if you leave from the train station in Hanoi. A number of hotels are situated inside or nearby the Old Quarter to make it easy for you to walk to these streets.

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Hanoi Information
Hanoi is a perfect foil for the seething mass of humanity that is Ho Chi Minh City. With a population of four million and a more genteel style than its southern counterpart, Hanoi is the cultural capital of Vietnam and its heart and soul.
It’s known as one of the most ancient capitals in the world. With a 1,000-year history and many well-preserved buildings along with lush and verdant parks as well as a handful of well-appointed museums, it will quite simply keep you busy for days on end. Some of the attractive features of this French-colonial city are its many lakes, delectable cuisine, handicrafts and its unique multi-cultural society developed from Chinese, French and Russian. Hanoi definitely has so much to offer... More Read

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