Hong Kong

Hanoi: Old quarter and St. Joseph’s Cathedral

St. Joseph’s Cathedral resembles Notre Dame de Paris – of course, once you look around the cathedral there are lots of small shops, markets and streets that look like anything else than shops, markets and streets you would find in Europe! You are in Asia, in Hanoi, so there are lots of fresh food stalls, coffee shops selling iced coffee with condensed milk (more about that in a future post), boutiques with colorful scarves or souvenirs such as chop sticks.

Hanoi Cathedrale

But the church looks really French… and that’s because it is one of the first structures built by the French colonial government in Indochina when it opened in December 1886. It is the oldest church in Hanoi and it is still in use today – on Easter Sunday the main gates were open and mass goers spilled out on the street. On other days, you have to enter and exit through the side doors. It is a magnificent building, no doubt – but so out of place if you look at the typical houses of the Old Quarter.

Hanoi Old Quarter 1

Hanoi Old Quarter 2

The Old Quarter has the original street layout and architecture of old Hanoi. At the beginning of the 20th century the city consisted of only about 36 streets, most of which are now part of the old quarter. Each street then had merchants and households specialised in a particular trade, such as silk traders, jewellery, bamboo makers, blacksmiths etc. Here is the last remaining blacksmith of Hanoi:

Hanoi Blacksmith

The street names nowadays still reflect these specializations, although few of them remain exclusively in their original commerce.

Hanoi Old Quarter 3

There are markets at every corner – and here is a shot about dropped cucumbers… they were rolling around the street and the ladies were picking them up…

Hanoi Old Quarter 4

Finally, as you can see there are always small restaurants (with tiny chairs and tiny tables) plus street vendors, bicycles and motor scooters… it’s busy in Hanoi!

Hanoi Old Quarter 5


2 thoughts on “Hanoi: Old quarter and St. Joseph’s Cathedral”

  1. Incredible! The Cathedral really does look like a simpler version of Notre Dame!! Love the streetscapes . . .

Leave a Reply to Rajiv Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.