Then and now: Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake

By Giang Huy, Hoang Phuong   April 2, 2017 | 05:00 am PT
Hoan Kiem Lake has witnessed dramatic changes to the capital over the last century.

Under French colonial rule between 1888 and 1895, Hoan Kiem Lake divided Hanoi in half; one for French people, and the other for Vietnamese. Back then, the lake was a link between Hanoi’s Old Quarter and the modern European area the French developed.

A pagoda used to stand where the Hanoi Post Office can be found today. Built in 1847, Bao An Pagoda was one of the biggest pagodas in Hanoi before it was demolished by the French in the 19th century.

Hoa Phong Tower in front of Bao An Pagoda surrounded by water in a photo captured in 1844. Today, it sits on Dinh Tien Hoang Street, which runs along the lake.

The Huc Bridge, which links Ngoc Son Temple to the bank, has been upgraded only twice since it was built in 1865.

Over time, Tran Ba Temple, which stands behind Ngoc Son Temple in the lake, has been hidden behind a thick canopies of old trees.

Trang Tien Plaza on Trang Tien Street is the descendant of the Godard groceries store. In 1953, the store was sold to a businessman, and since then has gone through the hands of many owners before it was replaced by Trang Tien Plaza.

Hanoi Opera House on Trang Tien Street has not changed much since French rule.

Dien Hong Flower Garden in 1905 and now. It was called Con Coc Garden, before getting its new name in 1954.

Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square near Hoan Kiem Lake was a tram station operated by the French. In 1990, all French trams were suspended and the tramlines were removed. The tram station has now become a bus station.

An octagonal tower near Hoan Kiem Lake. It now stands behind Ly Thai To Park.

Old Hanoi photos courtesy of Hanoi Museum

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