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1000 Years in the Making: Hanoi Celebrates Its Millennium

  • Ashley Hiemenz
  • 2 October 2010

As if Hanoi traffic isn’t already something to talk about, people from around the world are gathering here to join in a spectacular 10-day celebration of Hanoi’s 1000th birthday. With the major roads in the centre of the city closed, Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake has been transformed into a pedestrian-friendly street party, with artistic displays, stages, concerts and festivities throughout the city.

Young Hanoians show their pride by wearing 'I Love Hanoi' t-shirts

Young Hanoians show their pride by wearing 'I Love Hanoi' t-shirts on the opening night of Hanoi's 1000th birthday celebrations. Photo courtesy of Laura Fornadel

It was in the year 1010 that the Vietnamese Emperor Lý Thái Tổ moved the capital from Hoa Lu (in Ninh Bình province) to Hanoi, known at the time as Thanh Long, meaning ‘Flying Dragon’. Now, 1000 years later, Hanoi is still the administrative heart of Vietnam and also one of the oldest capitals in all of Asia.

And yesterday, the city was literally abuzz as thousands of locals and travellers joined together to kick off the first night of revelry with an impressive fireworks display and laser light show over Hoan Kiem Lake. “There was so much spirit and excitement in the air! People were taking millions of pictures to capture the moment,” said Hanoi expatriate Julia Plevin.

Among the other opening-ceremony events was a fashion show on the famous Red Bridge featuring different regional variations of ao dai, a form of  traditional Vietnamese dress, as worn by models and Miss World Viet Nam 2007, Ngo Phuong Lan.

Symbolic of the five gates of the ancient citadel were five stages set up around the lake displaying different historical times from Hanoi’s history, including the French occupation, revolutionary wars and contemporary Hanoi. One street looked as if it had been transported from an ancient era, complete with calligraphy painters, old bicycles and cyclo drivers.

Street vendors selling cotton candy were set up around Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam

Street vendors selling cotton candy were set up around Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam on the occasion of the city's 1000th birthday. Photo courtesy of Laura Fornadel

For the next 10 days, there will be over over 200 shows by domestic and international artists throughout the city. Some program highlights include a food festival, photo exhibitions, marathon, kite festival and cultural workshops. The official anniversary is on October 10th, which will be marked by a grand parade in Ba Dinh square followed by a cultural night festival.

If you’re anywhere in Southeast Asia, now is the time to visit Hanoi and be part of a joyous commemoration of 1000 years of Hanoi’s unique culture and tradition.

While you’re in Hanoi, why not try something else a little different: book a local experiential day tour with Urban Adventures, including Hanoi highlights and trips to Halong Bay, nearby traditional villages and the area’s spectacular citadels and karst landscape.

For yet more local experience elsewhere in Vietnam, try reach out to your whl.travel local connections in Can Tho, Chau Doc, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hue, and Phu Quoc.

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Asia, cities, festivals & events, fine arts, food & drink, human interests, personal experience, South-Eastern Asia, Vietnam, whl.travel,

One Response to “1000 Years in the Making: Hanoi Celebrates Its Millennium”

  1. anhhh says:

    I attended this festival and had great time there. Hanoi seemed to have a new face at that time. Every one from all over the country gathered htere to celebrate their capital’s birthday. It was so crowded and exciting. Most of people worn the T-Shirt with the logo I love Hanoi 🙂
    Though it’s not really like the old and charming Hanoi as usual, Hanoi is still attractive on this occasion.

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