Chinese Invaders, French Colonialists, Japanese Fascists, and American Imperialists
Hanoi feels calmer than Saigon, but it is still a bustling city with the classic Vietnamese "flavor" of organized chaos. There is no effective local public transportation and the city is vast, so we chose to rent bicycles and tour the city. Trying to compete with the chaotic traffic may have been the bravest thing we did on our entire journey.
What was the reaction of the natives to a Viceroy in their midst?
I'm kidding. There are plenty of foreign tourists in Vietnam, and the city is beautiful, with an eclectic mix of French colonial architecture and Communist city planning.
There are plenty of sights to see in the city, and one is the old Citadel. Only recently reopened to the public, it was built in the 11th century at around the same time as the Temple of Literature seen below.
Below are pictures from the depressing Military History Museum, which you can read more about in the original blog post linked above.
This watchtower was once part of the Citadel seen above, yet they are not all that close to each other, indicating that the complete citadel of 1,000 years ago would rival many European castles in size.
The "Temple of Literature," the first university in Vietnam and for centuries the prinicipal center of learning, where students who passed the prestigious entrance exam studied the finest points of Confucian thought. Here, scholars could study medicine, government, Buddhism, and of course literature.
And finally, no mention of Hanoi would be complete without at least a mention of the cult that surrounds the father of the nation, Ho Chi Minh.
His Lincoln Memorial-esque mausoleum sits in the center of the city.