Thursday, 13/09/2018 09:23

Documents revive old days of Hà Nội

Fascinating: French Ambassador Betrand Lortholary (centre) visits the exhibition. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoai Thuong
Viet Nam News

HA NOI — The announcement of a referendum on widening Hang Dau Street issued in 1925 is on display at an exhibition in Ha Noi.

The document is one among 130 important texts and pictures stored by National Archives Centre No 1 which are on show at an exhibition entitled ‘Nostalgic Walk in the Heart of Ha Noi’.

The notice explained that Hang Dau Street would be expanded to 20m in width. Maps and information on the road were available for public viewing at the City Mayor’s Building, where residents were able to express their opinions between May 2-22, 1925.

Historian Duong Trung Quoc, vice chairman of the Viet Nam Association of Historical Sciences, said this announcement showcased the process of French people building up the urban area in Ha Noi. It also proved the democracy and Western-style urban management applied in Ha Noi at that time.

“Observing the maps at the exhibition, we can see the way French people urbanised the land of Ha Noi,” said Quoc.

“They preserved traditions and added new elements of modern urban areas such as drainage and Western-style buildings.”

The exhibition features a collection of documents, photos, maps and drawings depicting the daily, cultural and religious life of Hanoians; the Old Quarter, the ancient citadel of Ha Noi, Quoc Tu Giam - the first university in Viet Nam, the Sword Lake and beautiful European and Asian-style buildings.

The exhibition aims to provide visitors with an archival treasure trove of research and information on Ha Noi, thus inspiring love and pride among Hanoians and encouraging them to preserve and uphold the capital city’s traditional cultural values, according to Dang Thanh Tung, director of the State Records Management and Archives Department.

“The new thing in this exhibition is the expression. Installation art and exhibition design bring visitors a feeling that they can come back to the past and stand beside old architecture of Ha Noi.”

“It’s not only a space to display old documents,” said Tung. “It’s a place where old days of Ha Noi are revived.”

People pass a replica of O Quan Chuong Gate to enter the exhibition. Then they can see the landscape and daily activities of Ha Noi’s people in the 19th-20th centuries reflected in the exhibits of old documents.

Attending the exhibition, visitors can see how Ha Noi has changed. Many buildings such as the Ha Noi Post Office, O Quan Chuong Gate and Ha Noi Opera House have maintained the same appearance but they are now surrounded by many other constructions.

Meanwhile, some architecture and surrounding spaces have changed, for example, Hoa Phong Tower of Bao An Pagoda beside Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake. Now, the pagoda is destroyed. There is nothing left but Hoa Phong Tower located on the pavement next to Sword Lake.

The exhibition will run until December 31 at the National Archives Centre No 1, 18 Vu Pham Ham Street, Ha Noi. — VNS

Ancient structures: A photo of O Quan Chuong Gate in the 19th century displayed at the exhibition.

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