Urbanist Hanoi

in Hanoi

[Photos] A Hanoi in Transition, Over a Century Ago

Today, Hoan Kiem Lake has no lantern-lifting Statue of Liberty that people fish beside, Russian naval ships don't moor in the Red River, and nón lá hardly cover every head in the capital.

in Hanoi

[Photos] 1994 Hanoi in the Eyes of a Former Japan Ambassador to Vietnam

On a day like any other in November 1994, some Hanoians might have been curious about the fact that their shop front and daily routine were being photographed by a wandering Japanese man.

in Hanoi

[Photos] 18 Rare Black-and-White Photos of Northern Vietnam in the 1970s

What draws us towards the spectacle that is old photos?

in Hanoi

[Photos] Rare Black-and-White Shots Reflect Hanoi Street Life in 1950

No skim milk and saltine parties here.

in Hanoi

[Photos] Hanoi's Colonial Architecture in Postcards From 1916

The French aimed to remake Hanoi in Paris' image via elaborate architecture and infrastructure projects.

in Vietnam

[Illustrations] This Set of Gouache Paintings Showcases Rural Life in 1890 Nam Dinh

Step into the life of a Nam Dinh resident in 1890 through this series of vintage paintings.

in Hanoi

[Photos] A Bird's-Eye View of 1930 Hanoi

Now that the age of drones has dawned upon us, cityscapes are easily captured from above.

in Hanoi

The City as Text: Chợ Trời and the Representation of an Invisible Hanoi

Despite being the largest marketplace in the city since the 1950s, and still the oldest temporary market in town, Troi Market (chợ Trời) doesn't appear in delightful pieces of literature or art like the Old Quarter, West Lake and Ba Dinh Square.

Back Heritage

in Vietnam

[Photos] A Final Family Journey Through Vietnamese Landscapes in the 1800s

This is the third and final collection from my family’s photography archives, and it is also the most important to me. Beyond my family’s colonial past, it is this last series of images that have infl...

in Hanoi

[Illustrations] Paintings of Hanoi’s Old Quarter in the Feudal Era

Depicting an age before the stress of modern life took hold, these illustrations are an endearing reminder of the Old Quarter’s former imperial life over 1,000 years ago.

in Vietnam

[Photos] Family Albums Depict the Everyday Lives of Vietnamese People in the Late 1800s

Following last week’s photo essay on railway construction, this week’s images focus on the everyday lives of people in northern Vietnam. 

in Vietnam

An Ancestral History of Northern Vietnam’s Railway Construction

We often see archival images of old Hanoi, but these photos are different - they are personal. The following shots, which come from a collection of five photo albums, are the only surviving record of ...

in Vietnam

[Photos] 36 Photos of Life in Vietnam in 1956

There are many things to love about life in Vietnam in past decades, but over the years, Vietnamese nowadays might have gotten used to a certain standard of living, making it hard to picture a time wh...

in Hanoi

[Photos] The Serene, Laid-Back Vibe of Hanoi in the Mid-1990s

Hanoi in the mid-1990s was a city of rich traditions and a laid-back lifestyle.

in Vietnam

Street Cred: Thich Quang Duc, the Monk Who Set Himself on Fire

Despite his peaceful nature, Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc is known today as “the monk who set himself on fire,” serving as a symbol of protest against religious discrimination. In today’s ...

in Vietnam

[Photos] Emperor Bao Dai's 1942 Offering of Worship to Heaven and Earth

Throughout Vietnam’s imperial era, ceremonial rituals were an indispensable part of a local monarch’s reign. One such celebration was Nam Giao, an annual ceremony of utmost importance in the king’s ca...

in Hanoi

[Photos] Early 1980s Hanoi on the Brink of Doi Moi

The early 1980s were a complicated time for Vietnam. Still reeling from the end of a war within the country – not to mention border conflicts with Cambodia and China in the later 1970s – Vietnam was j...

in Hanoi

[Photos] Here's What Hanoi Looked Like In 1905

During the French colonial period, Tonkin, or Đàng Ngoài, was the name given to northern Vietnam. Situated in and around the Red River Delta, the word 'Tonkin' is a corruption of Đông Kinh, the name o...

in Vietnam

[Photos] The Bygone Days of 1920s Vinh Long

Across the internet, there is ample documentation of Vietnam’s cities in the days of French colonialism. Turn-of-the-century countryside snaps, however, are a little harder to come by.

in Vietnam

[Photos] Vintage Postcards Capture the Grand Landmarks of Old Saigon

Today, Saigon’s landmarks are the subject of many an Instagram snapshot – everyone, it seems, has photographed the Notre Dame Cathedral at least once – but in the days before smartphones, Saigon’s gra...

in Vietnam

[Photos] Vinh Phuc's Tam Dao Hill Station in Its Glory Days

Nestled in a cradle of hills about 85 kilometers northwest of Hanoi is the Tam Dao Hill Station, a former colonial village whose lakes, waterfalls and villas made it known during its heyday as “The Da...

in Vietnam

[Photos] A Black-and-White Look at Hoi An From 1930 to 1950

It appears that flooding in Hoi An is a common phenomenon that dates back to at least the 1930s.

in Vietnam

Street Cred: Trinh Cong Son, the Voice of a Generation

A few weeks ago, Hanoi officials announced the conversion of the capital’s narrow Trinh Cong Son Street into a pedestrian zone featuring artistic performances as well as snacks and souvenirs.

in Vietnam

[Photos] An Intimate Look Into Life in Can Tho in the 1990s

Belgian photographer Harry Gruyaert, known for his use of color and for his striking images of Morocco, India and Egypt, also took a series of photographs in Can Tho two decades ago.

in Vietnam

The Reunification Game: How a 1976 Football Match Brought North & South Together

In early 1976, shortly after the dust had started to settle in a now-unified Vietnam, Le Buu, general director of the country’s Sports Administration Department, was tasked with heading to Saigon to a...

in Vietnam

[Photos] The Hottest Beauty Trend in 1920s Vietnam Was Ridiculously Long Nails

In 2019 Vietnam, excessively long nails are usually considered a sign of evilness, thanks to the influence of foreign horror flicks. However, not many know that decades ago, this body feature was wide...

in Hanoi

[Maps] A Brief Cartographical History of Hanoi From 1873-1936

How was Hanoi in the late 19th century different from its current state?

in Vietnam

[Photos] The Pastoral Charm of Bac Ninh in the 1920s

Despite being one of Vietnam’s tiniest provinces, Bac Ninh was home to the earliest trace of ancient Vietnamese tribes.