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History History

Progression and Development

Hoan Kiem District(30/05/2015)

Hoan Kiem district located in the centre of Thang Long imperial city and Hanoi capital today.

Althought it is the smallest district of Hanoi in term of area, most of the important political and cultural events of the capital occurs in Hoan Kiem.

Located in the district are headquarters of diplomatic missions, international organizations, foreign representative offices, central and local state agencies, large Catholic headquarters, historical, cultural and revolutionary vestiges, monuments and valuable cultural architecture works.

Hoan Kiem district is also a home of the high - tech and quality services, commercial shopping streets and big wholesale markets, and the "night walking street" of Hang Dao – Hang Giay.

Geographical location

Hoan Kiem district (named after the Hoan Kiem Lake) located in the center of Hanoi Capital, Hoan Kiem district is located on the West by Dong Da district, on the Northwest by Ba Dinh and Dong Da districts, on the South by Hai Ba Trung district and running from North to South along the Red River.

The entire district land used to belong to the former Tho Xuong district with an area of 5.29 km2 and a population of 143 528 people (as of 4/2009).

Development History
Hoan Kiem District was formed over 1,000 years ago and has a long history of development. In the past, Hoan Kiem area was a confluence, where the To Lich river separated from the Nhi river at Giang Khau precinct flowing through the crowded streets and boat wharfs.

It becomes a hub with "four towns" and also a convergent point of polytechnic talents everywhere that imprinted on street names today as Hang Dao, Hang Trong, Hang Bac, Hang Khay, Hang Quat , Hang Da ...

From 1954 to 1961, the area consisted of Hoan Kiem, Dong Xuan streets and part of the Hang Co and Hai Ba. For the period of 1961 - 1981, it was known as Hoan Kiem district. Since January 1981, it was officially called as Hoan Kiem district with 18 precincts.

Administrative units
Hoan Kiem district includes 18 precinct administrative units of Cua Nam, Hang Bai, Trang Tien, Ly Thai To, Đong Xuan, Hang Ma, Cua Đong, Hang Gai, Tran Hung Đao, Phan Chu Trinh, Hang Bac, Hang Buom, Hang Đao, Hang Bo, Hàng Bong, Hang Trong, Chuong Duong, Phuc Tan.
District People's Council – People's Committee based at 126 Hang Trong street.
Socio- Economy
Economic structure shifted towards civilization and efficiency oriented service-trade - tourism.
Currently the district has over 13,000 individual household businesses operating in trade and business. The budget has been increasing in pace of development, reaching 915 billion dong in 2007 and 1255.5 billion dong in 2008. The growth rate of trade, services, tourism increased by 24.7% in 2008, 17.75% in 2014 and estimated 18.02% in 2015.

Many traditional handicraft products with high export value as carving, jewelery, textiles, embroidery, lace, leather, rattan and bamboo, silk flowers, paper flowers ... are restored.
Meanwhile, hunger eradication, poverty reduction and job placement activities are actively implemented. In 2008, 7537 visitors were introduced in job placement, 1629 poor households get National Fund's loans with the amount of 11 billion dong. Trained worker ratio was 55% in 2014 and 55.8% in 2015. Number of participants in the training age was 1,900 visitors in 2014 and 2,000 visitors in 2015.

Total district development investment in 2008 was 118.327 billion dong, focusing on education, health, workplace improvement and urban infrastructure development . Investment expenditures for capital construction and non- business capital of investment nature reached 339.04 billion dong in 2014; and estimated at 346.29 billion dong in 2015...

Education and training
The education and training are enhanced with improved quality and become one of the city's leading units. The number and quality of proficient teachers and distinction students at high schools have been increasing. In 2008-2009 academic year, the district education and training sector gained 13/13 good work indicators. In 2014 - 2015 academic year all the sector planned targets were well achieved.

Conduct various cultural and art activities in association with the patriotic emulation movement, the major national and city campaigns .

Restore and maintain the traditional festivals and trade streets, keeping the material cultural values, upholding traditional cultural values, selectively inheriting cultural criterias of Hanoian, building civilized, elegant lifestyle associated with economic development.

The district has 190 valueable historical-cultural and revolutionary vestiges, cultural architecture works as Sword Lake, Tortoise Tower, Hoa Lo prison, Kim Ngan communal house, Bao An Pagoda (also known as Lien Tri), Bao Thien Tower, Le King temple, Ngoc Son Temple, O Quan Chuong gate, Hanoi Opera House and 19-8 Square, Cathedral, Museum of Vietnam History Museum of Vietnam Revolution, Ly Thai To Statue, Hanoi Post Office, Dong Xuan Market ... Especially, the entire old downtown of the district is under heritage conservation list.

Hanoi Old Quarter progression and development (30/09/2011)

Thang Long Hanoi was an unique traditional and cultural region. Till to the end of the 16th century of Thang Long-Dong Do, Dong Kinh was still an exclusive urban centre of Dai Viet civilisation. "Ke Cho", another name of Thang Long-Dong Do, included quays and 36 different merchant guilds and craftsmans, suburban markets, specialized trading villages and agricultural product processing villages.

People from all around converged to Thang Long – Hanoi for knowledge exchange and competition with each other, making the uniqueness of Hanoian in fashions, connoisseurs, gourmets, and well –skilled in.

According to old records and documents, the most bustling area of old Hanoi was Tho Xuong district (Hoan Kiem and Hai Ba Trung districts nowadays), also well known as the Old Quarter. Shops of merchants and craftsmans stood closely together forming street lines on which people sold only one type of products. These streets were also named after the products' names. This notion wass also depicted in the following folk-poem with 36 merchant guilds of Hanoi.

"Rủ nhau chơi khắp Long Thành
Ba mươi sáu phố rành rành chẳng sai.
Hàng Bồ, Hàng Bạc, Hàng Gai
Hàng Buồm, Hàng Thiếc, Hàng Bài, Hàng Khay
Mã Vĩ, Hàng Điếu, Hàng Giầy
Hàng Lờ, Hàng Cót, Hàng Mây, Hàng Đàn
Phố mới Phúc Kiến, Hàng Ngang
Hàng Mã, Hàng Mắm, Hàng Than, Hàng Đồng
Hàng Muối, Hàng Nón, Cầu Đông
Hàng Hòm, Hàng Đậu, Hàng Bông, Hàng Bè
Hàng Thùng, Hàng Bát, Hàng Tre
Hàng Vôi, Hàng Giấy, Hàng The, Hàng Gà
Qua đi đến phố Hàng Da
Trải xem phường phố thật là cũng xinh
Phồn hoa thứ nhất Long Thành
Phố giăng mắc cửi đường quanh bàn cờ."

Merchants and craftsmans lived scatteredly in all over the streets. Some lavish streets such as Ma May had gathered many Chinese dealers. The roads were covered by tiles with a bit higher in the middle and a bit lower along two sides to flush out drainage or sewage water.

Every street was separated by big and thick wall - constructed gates with the width of road surface, and securely closed at night.

The Old Quarter becomes an important and integral part in the capital's development history, as well as a pride, passionate and deep concern of all residents of Vietnam thanks for the huge in-building historical, cultural, art, and architectural heritage systems.
Years ago, residential areas along the Red river sides congregated as small villages. In the 5th century (454 – 456) under the Chinese domination, one of these areas developed and formed a small district named Tong Binh. Thousand years passed by, beginning as a small sized village of Viet, it has become an over-3-million people city and the headquater of politics, national defense, culture, and economy of Vietnam. From Tong Binh to Hanoi nowadays, there was a complicated urbanization process under large space and scale.

Under the feudal ages, Hanoi became a central government of the country soon as the oppressor Cao Bien expanded Dai La citadel in 866 and located here a Chinese oppression headquater. Nevertheless, Hanoi became the capital of Dai Viet only in 1010 when Ly Cong Uan, also known as Ly Thai To – the first king of Ly dynasty, moved the imperial capital from Hoa Lu to Dai La.

Hanoi Old Quarter is an unique architectural cluster, heavily influenced by Viet national character. The Quarter also has typical characteristics of traditional craft production areas. The place also hosts many routine events: living, selling, producing, festivaling, relaxing, entertaining, which all together create the Old Quarter's full vitality for conservation and development.

Talking about the history of the Old Quarter of Hanoi, the factor is expressed as an important element of human ecology, social ecology. Under the Ly and Tran dynasties, Hanoi's Old Quarter consisted of many merchant guilds among the 61 precincts at that time. In the Le dynasty, at the beginning of 16th century, Hanoi used to be Dong Kinh, where many merchants converged to start their businesses at 36 guilds, gradually forming the Old Quarter known as today. Along with its historical popularity, the Old Quarter was also considered as an unforgettable space stamping a well-rounded city life with its socio- economy,customs and tradition. Guild is an organization (available only in Thang Long), also equivalent to commune/village in rural area. It is the place where people live and work with the same craft trade. Besides dye, weave, paper making, bronze cast, forge and ceramics, Hanoi was famous at money moulding (steel and ore coins), shipbuilding, weapon and palanquin producing.

Long ago, the Old Quarter was developed in many-lakes-and-rivers terrain. The area was covered by To Lich river in the north, Red river in the east, and Hoan Kiem lake in the south. The first market and residence were located at the intersection of To Lich river and Red river. To Lich's estuary used to be a quay with many channels scattering within the Old Quarter.

Since the 7th century, Kinh Thanh area had been renamed as Trung Do including of two districts with total of 36 guilds. Majority of streets and Tho Xuong district were merchant. Also, many temples and pagodas were constructed in this period. From the 17th to 19th century a market network had been established. Residential areas and trade guilds concentrated in the East of the city.

Hanoi welcomed foreign travelers and business from Netherland and UK in the 17th century. Majority of foreign merchants were Chinese.

After the French conquest, Hanoi planning started changing, especially in the Old Quarter. The roads were reshaped and equipped with sewage system, paverments, alsphalt covered and street lights. Along streets, houses was constructed with bricks and tiled roofs. Next to the acient tiled roof houses of three elevated edges there were houses with European style front.

After 1954, due to the economic transformation policy for private capital, production development policy and economic policy subsidized by the Government through a chain of the state department stores and service points, the entire busy and blustling Old Quarter was turned in to a merely residental area (1960-1983), its redidents become staff and workers for the city cooperative and collective units. Many front houses were refixed with just door and windows, the street became serene. The streets bustled in times and usually at shift working hours; the excitement was seen in the market area, the department stores, specialized stores of the State and of the cooperatives (such as Dong Xuan Market, Hang Da market, ...).The population of the Old Quarter gradually increased encroaching vacant space of the courtyards. A lot of temples and pagodas were turned into workplace and residence. A number of traditional crafts were fading into oblivion, and the spiritual culture was lulled down.

Since 1986 up to now, the Old Quarter has changed from subsidized economy to market economy through the open policies in the economy and international relations, expansion of economic sectors in the country and encouraging all strata in construction and development of socio-economic and cultural development. The Old Quarter was gradually restored its former glory. Front houses were reconstructed and rennovated. A lot of temples and pagodas were restored, thus bringing back its spiritual atmosphere. Besides, the bustling flow of tourist travelers is the main factor which encourages commercials, services and cultures of the area.


Owning only 528.7 ha out of total 8,430 ha of the entire city area, Hoan Kiem is the densest district of Hanoi. Nevertheless the geographical location and limited land buget make exorbitant value of Hoan Kiem.


Table 1: Land Structure and Changes

Land type



Up (+) Down


Area (ha)


Area (ha)


Total area

528, 75





I. Agricultural land






II. Dedicated land






1. Land for construction






2. Land for transport






3. Irrigation land and dedicated water surface






4. Land of historical and cultural vestiges






III. Urban land for residential






IV. Unused land and rivers, lakes






1- Unused land






2- Rivers, lakes






Source: Statistic data of land inventory 1/1/2000

Following remarks drawn from the above table:

Hoan Kiem has only 15.31 ha (2.89%) agricultural land in Phuc Tan precinct. This is a non-fixed floating land area in the middle of Red River. The area could be used only in dry season. Farmers of Gia Lam District use the land for planting short-time vegetables in the dry season. The land therefore does not bring high usage value for the Hoan Kiem district in particular and Hanoi capital in general. In the current crowded situation, the change of land use purpose such as for constructing entertainment and recreation park may increase the land use efficiency many times althought it could not be used in all the months of year.

Urban land faces drastic changes. Besides the errors in statistics, mostly changes occured in the transfer of land use purpose from residential land to dedicated land, especially with the large shifts from private households to organizations and agencies such as the Embassies, Ambassador Residence, trading office ... It is a positive shifting trend in the District land use structure.

The District has only 0.799 ha unused or unexploited land, of which:

- 0.398 ha estuary land of Chuong Duong precinct

- 0.4 ha corridor land of Long Bien bridge of Phuc Tan precinct.

- 0.001 ha unused land of Hang Gai precinct.

The unexploited area of Hoan Kiem is not relatively significant, including 0.398 ha in Chuong Duong precinct under the flood drainage corridors, and it's hard to be used. However, 0.4 ha + 0.001 ha = 0.4001 of Phuc Tan and Hang Gai precincts can be used for construction. These show the relatively good land use of the district. Nevertheless, these are also the disadvantages of Hoan Kiem in developing socio-economic projects with land demand.

In the cramped land conditions, the inefficient and improper land use still remained in the locality. In 2000, there were about 40 unprofitable and ceased enterprises that offered rent to private sector such as Ngo Gia Tu Automobile Factory (14,729 m2), Hong Ha Stationary Factory (6,098 m2) and ect. or even fallowed as 33 Duong Thanh Cosmetic Company (400 m2) ect. There's a waste in using the district limited land budget. It would bring more socio-economic efficiency if there would be a change of land use purposes for abovementioned areas.

21,26% of Hoan Kiem natural area is the Red river water surface. It has high scenery and environmental value but still unexploited. The Red river water surface area shall be really exploited for the socio-economic development of Hoan Kiem district and the whole Capital as the Government Master Plan on Red river and the Riversides city construction are implemented.

18 precincts of Hoan Kiem district can be divided into three categories: the old quarter, the old streets and outside dyke streets with natural areas as shown in the statistic table below: