Hanoi in Vietnam centered around Hoàn Kiem Lake, has a history dated back to 3000 years. Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam is located along Red River. It is considered to be the treasure of political and social evolution of Vietnam. With a population of more than 3 million, Hanoi in Vietnam will haunt you back to its past through the remnants of history preserved along the silent alleys of the Old Quarter. If you trace History of Hanoi, you will realize that Hanoi on one hand, offers scenic beauty and shadows of French-colonial rule in the city's architecture, on the other, it is a city adapting it self to the mall and bar culture of cosmopolitan times.
History of Hanoi says that Hanoi is known by various names like Long Bien, Tong Binh and Long dol as well. Co Loa citadel in Hanoi originated in 200 BC and the locale was turned into a citadel in 866 as Ðai La. It was in 1010, when Lý Thái To, the first ruler of the Lý Dynasty shifted Ðai Viet or the then capital of Vietnam to Ðai La Citadel. This place served as the capital of Vietnam till 1397 when it was again shifted to Thanh Hóa ( later known as Ðông Ðô). This place then fell to Chinese troops from the Ming Dynasty in 1408. Ðông Ðô was called Ðông Quan by the Chinese force till it was liberated in 1428 by Lê Loi, the founder of the Le Dynasty.
The Nguyen Dynasty shifted this capital to present Hue in 1802 and named the place as Thang Long. However, the original locale of Dong Quan, which was renamed by the Nguyen Dynasty as Hà Noi (meaning- around the bend of the river or River Interior) in 1831, fell to French regime in 1873. More than a decade later, it became the capital of French Indochina. However, it again succumbed to Japanese annexation in 1940 but in five years, it attained freedom. Interestingly enough, Hanoi even after its freedom, witnessed war between French and Viet Minh forces for some time when it served as the capital of North Vietnam. Only after North Vietnam reunited with South Vietnam on July 2, 1976 to form a united Vietnam, Hanoi became the capital of the consolidated Vietnam.
History of Hanoi also adds that in 2004, the relics of a citadel almost a century old, was spotted in central Hanoi adding to the historic impression of the place for the tourists.
The site where Hanoi stands today has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. Emperor Ly Thai To moved his capital here in AD 1010, naming it Thang Long (City of the Soaring Dragon). There should be some spectacular celebrations in honour of the 1000th birthday of the city in 2010. The decision by Emperor Gia Long, founder of the Nguyen dynasty in 1802, to rule from Hué relegated Hanoi to the status of a regional capital for a century.
Down the centuries, Hanoi has been called many names, including Dong Kinh (Eastern Capital), from which the Europeans derived the name they eventually applied to all of northern Vietnam – Tonkin. The city was named Hanoi (The City in a Bend of the River) by Emperor Tu Duc in 1831. From 1902 to 1953, Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina.
Hanoi was proclaimed the capital of Vietnam after the August Revolution of 1945, but it was not until the Geneva Accords of 1954 that the Viet Minh, driven from the city by the French in 1946, were able to return.
During the American War, US bombing destroyed parts of Hanoi and killed hundreds of civilians; almost all the damage has since been repaired. One of the prime targets was the 1682m-long Long Bien Bridge, originally built between 1888 and 1902 under the direction of the same architect who designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris. US aircraft repeatedly bombed the strategic bridge, yet after each attack the Vietnamese managed to improvise replacement spans and return it to road and rail services. It is said that the US military ended the attacks when US prisoners of war (POWs) were put to work repairing the bridge.