Hanoi’s Old Quarter 2024: Unveiling a Tapestry of Cultural Delights

The 2024 Cultural Activities themed "Keeping Old Trades on the Street" has kicked off in Hanoi's central district of Hoan Kiem.


The Hoan Kiem Lake and the Hanoi’s Old Quarter Management Board is organizing a series of cultural events at heritage sites and public spaces in the Old Quarter from April 19 to May 31.

Hoan Kiem Lake and Hanoi Old Quarter Management Board’s Deputy Director Tran Thi Thuy Lan speaks at the opening ceremony of the 2024 Old Quarter Cultural Activities. Photo: Giao duc & Thoi dai

The events are to celebrate the 49th anniversary of Reunification (April 30, 1975 – 2024), the 138th anniversary of International Workers’ Day (May 1, 1886 – 2024), the 70th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory (May 7, 1954 – 2024), and the event eminent physician Le Huu Trac listed on the UNESCO’s Cultural Figures and Historical Events, 2023-2024 Period.

In particular, the events include an exhibition booth modeled after the working space of Vietnamese herbalist families: medicinal plants, medicinal products, areas for medicine preparation, pulse checking, and consultation, among others.

In her opening speech, Tran Thi Thuy Lan, Deputy Director of the Hoan Kiem Lake and Hanoi Old Quarter Management Board, said that Thang Long – Hanoi was a convergence of hundreds of trades that configured the famous 36 streets of the capital. Hoan Kiem District is where the trade streets are concentrated, with communal houses dedicated to trade godfathers as the characteristics of today’s Old Quarter.

The activities of an ancient pharmacy on Lan Ong Street re-enacted at the event.

Its goal is to preserve the customs and antique cultural beauty of the city.

With its unique architecture and distinct cultural identity, the Old Quarter is mainly a district of traditional trades. Among them, Lan Ong Street is known as the center of Oriental medicine, specializing in Vietnamese herbs. It is recognizable by the medieval wooden and bronze signs bearing the names of pharmacies that have survived for centuries.

Despite the passage of time, many households in Lan Ong Street still have the traditional craft of medicinal herb selling.

Oriental medicine here is known for its diverse treatment techniques and methods as well as the medical teachings handed down by its predecessors. One of them was Hai Thuong Lan Ong (Le Huu Trac’s alias), who had the humane motto of “life for all”, the spirit of “lifelong learning”, and the medical teachings of eight values that a good doctor should have: “Humanity – Virtue – Generosity – Humility – Clarity – Wisdom – Sincerity – Diligence”. Another was Zen Master Tue Tinh and his influential view: “Vietnamese medicine to cure Vietnamese people”.

In 2014 and 2015, Hoan Kiem District carried out the renovation of Lan Ong Street.

Medicinal herbs are on display at the event.

A series of activities will be held for doctors to exchange experiences and discuss how to preserve and develop the profession. Among them, a meeting entitled “Hoan Kiem Oriental Medicine Associated With the Development of Lan Ong Craft Street”, organized by the Hoan Kiem Lake and Hanoi Old Quarter Management Board in cooperation with the Hoan Kiem District Oriental Medicine Association, is to take place on April 20 of the Hanoi Old Quarter Cultural Exchange Center.

The following are some events of the 2024 Hanoi Old Quarter Cultural Activities:

Bach Van Son Co., Ltd. introduces the methods of traditional medicine and offers free consultations and health checks using them, from now until May 12.

Tran Gia Oriental Medicament Co., Ltd. will introduce the methods of traditional medicine and offer free consultations under the theme “Paying Tribute to Eminent Doctor Le Huu Trac and Lan Ong Traditional Medicine Street” until May 12.

  • Dong Kinh Co Nhac group performs traditional music on the third floor of Hanoi Old Quarter Cultural Exchange Center, until May 11.
    22 Hang Buom Culture and Arts Center, in cooperation with Son Tay Town People’s Committee, holds an art exhibition on “Thang Long Convergence”, from April 25 to May 15.

  • * The Old Quarter Heritage Information Center at 28 Hang Buom Street cooperates with the Phu Yen Province Tourism Department to introduce Xi Thoai Brocade Village under the theme “Exploring the Traditional Beauty of Dong Xuan District, Phu Yen Province”. Opening time: from April 20.

    Dong Lac Communal House at 38 Hang Dao Street hosts an exhibition of Hanoia lacquerware. Time: From April 19 to May 12.

  • * Hoan Kiem Lake Pedestrian Zone, in cooperation with B-52 Victory Museum, Department of Politics (Hanoi Capital Command), and Vietnam Military History Museum, will host a photo exhibition entitled “Vietnam: Victories That Changed the Course of World History. Time: April 26 to May 31.

    Oriental Medicine Exhibition Booth at Hanoi Old Quarter Cultural Exchange Center, 50 Dao Duy Tu Street, Hang Buom Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi until May 31.