Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam. The city is situated in northern Vietnam on the western bank of the Red River, about 85 miles (140 km) inland from the South China Sea. In addition to being the national capital, Hanoi is also a province-level municipality (thanh pho), administered by the central government. It covers an area of 3,328.9 square kilometers (1,285 sq mi). With an estimated population of 8.1 million as of 2019, it is the second-largest city in Vietnam. The metropolitan area, encompassing nine additional neighboring provinces, has an estimated population of 20,2 million.
Hanoi, located on the banks of the Red River, is one of the most ancient capitals in the world, where travelers can find well-preserved colonial buildings, ancient pagodas, and unique museums within the city center. A great place to explore on foot, this French-colonial city is also known for its delectable cuisine, vibrant nightlife, silks and handicrafts, as well as a multi-cultural community that’s made up of Chinese, French and Russian influences.
Data and facts
- Hanoi is located in the northern region of Vietnam, situated in Vietnam's Red River delta, nearly 90 km (56 mi) away from the coastal area. Hanoi contains three basic kinds of terrain, which are the delta area, the midland area and mountainous zone.
- Hanoi, literally meaning 'city inside rivers' is built on the bank of Red river. Built on lowlands between rivers, Hanoi maintains a trace of many rivers that run around the city and form lakes inside the city. Some of the most popular lakes are Hoan Kiem lake, West lake, Ho Thien Quang lake, Truc Bach lake, Bay Mau lake and Thu Le lake among others.
- Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism have been the main religions of Vietnam for many years. Most Vietnamese consider themselves Buddhist, though not all of them regularly follow the religion.
- The city experiences the typical climate of northern Vietnam, with four distinct seasons. Summer, from May to August, is characterized by hot and humid weather with abundant rainfall. From September to November, comprise the fall season, characterized by a decrease in temperature and precipitation. Winter, from December to January, is dry and cool by national standards. The city is usually cloudy and foggy in winter, averaging only 1.5 hours of sunshine per day in February and March.
- Hanoi's population is continuously growing (about 3.5% per year), a reflection of the fact that the city is both a major metropolitan area of Northern Vietnam and also the country's political center. This population growth also puts a lot of pressure on the infrastructure, some of which is antiquated and dates back to the early 20th century. It had an estimated population of 8.1 million as of 2019.
- The Long Bien Bridge of Hanoi was designed by Alexandre Gustav Eiffel, creator of the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty.
- Hanoi houses are tall but very narrow because the property tax is based on the width of the building. Due to this characteristic, the name given to these houses is 'tube houses.' This taxation law was introduced in the 19th century by the French.
- Ho Chi Minh, the beloved leader of Vietnam and an important political figure in world history, died in 1969 due to heart failure. As soon as this happened, officials began planning his preservation and a team of scientists were flown into the country secretly to start the process of embalming. In 1975, peace agreements were officially signed and the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum where his body is embalmed was inaugurated. Today, the mausoleum is open for tourists and locals to visit and honor their cherished 'Uncle Ho.'
- Originally known as the Luc Thuy lake, today it's known as the Hoan Kiem Lake because of a famous legend in the 15th century.
Hà Nội is divided into 12 urban districts, 1 district-leveled town and 17 rural districts. When Hà Tây was merged into Hanoi in 2008, Hà Đông was transformed into an urban district while Sơn Tây degraded to a district-leveled town. They are further subdivided into 22 commune-level towns (or townlets), 399 communes, and 145 wards.
Hanoi has the highest Human Development Index among the cities in Vietnam. Though representing only 3.6 percent of the country's population and 0.3 percent of the national territory, Hanoi contributes 8 percent to the national GDP and 45 percent of the Red River Delta's economy. Industrial production in the city has experienced a rapid boom since the 1990s, with average annual growth of 19.1 percent from 1991–1995, 15.9 percent from 1996–2000, and 20.9 percent from 2001–2003. In addition to eight existing industrial parks, Hanoi is building five new large-scale industrial parks and 16 small- and medium-sized industrial clusters. The non-state economic sector is expanding fast, with more than 25,000 businesses currently operating under the Enterprise Law.
Trade is another strong sector of the city. In 2003, Hanoi had 2,000 businesses engaged in foreign trade, having established ties with 161 countries and territories. The value of the city's export grew by an average of 11.6 percent each year from 1996–2000 and 9.1 percent during 2001–2003. The economic structure also underwent important shifts, with tourism, finance, and banking playing an increasingly important role. Agriculture, previously a pillar of Hanoi's economy, has been reformed through the introduction of new high-yield plant varieties and livestock, and the application of modern farming techniques. Along with its economic growth, Hanoi's appearance has also changed significantly, especially in recent years. Infrastructure is constantly being upgraded, with new roads and an improved public transportation system. The rate of telephone users was 30 per 100 people in 2003. New urban areas are growing rapidly, with 1.5 million square meters of housing constructed during 1996–2000 and 1.3 million square meters built in 2003 alone.
A development master plan for Hanoi was designed by Ernest Hebrard in 1924 but was only partially implemented. The close relationship between the Soviet Union and Vietnam led to the creation of the first comprehensive plan for Hanoi with the assistance of Soviet planners between 1981 and 1984. It was never realized because it appeared to be incompatible with Hanoi's existing layout. In recent years, two master plans have been created to guide Hanoi's development. The first was the Hanoi Master Plan 1990-2010, approved in April 1992. It was created out of a collaboration between planners from Hanoi and the National Institute of Urban and Rural Planning in the Ministry of Construction. The plan's three main objectives were to create housing and a new commercial center in an area known as Nghĩa Đô, expand residential and industrial areas in the Gia Lâm district, and develop the three southern corridors linking Hanoi to Hà Đông and the Thanh Trì District.
The end result of the land-use pattern was meant to resemble a five cornered star by 2010. In 1998, a revised version of the Hanoi Master plan was approved to be completed in 2020. It addressed the significant increase in population projections within Hanoi. Population densities and high rise buildings in the inner city were planned to be limited to protect the old parts of inner Hanoi. A rail transport system is planned to be built to expand public transport and link the Hanoi to surrounding areas. Projects such as airport upgrading, a golf course, and cultural villages have been approved for development by the government.
Since 1954 Hanoi has been transformed from a primarily commercial city into an industrial and agricultural center. Manufactures include machine tools, electric generators and motors, plywood, textiles, chemicals, and matches. Rice, fruits and vegetables, cereals, and industrial crops are grown in the surrounding area.
Hanoi is also a communications center. Roads link Hanoi with other major Vietnamese cities, and railway lines provide access to its port of Haiphong; to Kunming in Yunnan province, China; and to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Small oceangoing vessels can sail to Hanoi on the Red River, and many small rivers are navigable from the capital to most parts of northern Vietnam. Hanoi has two airports.