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Hanoi sits on bank of the Red River. During the war, Hanoi was the capital of Northern Vietnam. The city has more than 600 temples and pagodas. Famous cultural centres and museums like Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Vietnam Museum of Revolution, Museums like the National Museum of Vietnamese History, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts, and the Contemporary Arts Centre provide the tourists with Vietnam's history and rich culture.The city has shops and eat-outs where you can taste Vietnamese 'street food'. There are also restaurants that offer French cuisine and Asian cuisine too.
The Water Puppet show is something you might never find any where else. It is also called Mua Roi Nuoc. It originated in the delta region of the Red river around the tenth century. It started as a means to entertainment for the farmers in the area. In earlier times, when the ponds and the rice paddy fields were empty after the harvests, the farmers would set up stage here for these shows. This art form is found in North Vietnam. Visitors and travellers will be enthralled at this show – it's indigenous and tells the story of village life.
Hanoi has a numbet of lakes in the city and Ho Tay is the largest. It is located to on the northwest of the city. Lot of years ago, the lake was a tributary of the Red river but then it dried up slowly and formed a lake. Phu Tay Ho is a shrine on the shore of the Ho Tay. During the first and fifteenth day of the lunar month, people come to the shrine to pray. There are stalls and shops along the way where you can get Bun Oc (vermicelli and snail soup) and Banh Tom (shrimp cakes).
Chua Mot Cot or the One Pillar Pagoda is a famous landmark of Vietnam. It stands as an icon of its culture and history. The pagoda was built around the tenth century during the reign of king Ly Thai Tong. The French Quarter in Hanoi flourished under the French colonial rule. Influenced by French architectural styles, it has tree-lined walkways and colonial mansions. Most of these buildings are now used as embassy offices or have been turned into museums. Other buildings nearby are the Metropole Hotel opened in 1901, and the Hanoi Opera House built in 1911.
St Joseph's Cathedral also called Nha Tho was built in the 1880s. It stands on an ancient pagoda site. The twin towers of the cathedral are neo-Gothic in style. There are beutiful stained glass windows that remind you of the Notre Dame in Paris. Bach Thao Botanical Gardens or Vuon Bach Thao is a huge garden that has two large lakes and a small temple. There are jogging trails around the park too.
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