An Overview of Hanoi

Hanoi is not only the capital of Vietnam, but it is also the political and cultural center of the country. It is a city begat by mythology and inspired by legends. It has been a survivor of countless violent struggles and political intrigues and has sustained on patriotism, ideology, and the willful independence of its people.

Located on the banks of the Red River with tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake at its heart, Hanoi is the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. North of the lake are the bustling streets of the Old Quarter, each street named after the trade that used to take place there (source).

When mentioning the name of Hanoi, not only Vietnamese people, but also Westerners are familiar with the phrase “Hà Nội 36 phố phường” (means Hanoi 36 districts). As mentioned earlier, in the past, each street specialized in a particular trade. That explains why Hanoi has the name of 36 districts. At present, although many of the streets no longer have the products for which they were named, some still keep its trade for earning people’s livings. All streets are gathered in Hanoi Old Quarter – which is situated near Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of Hanoi (source).

Hanoi’s population is constantly growing (about 3.5% per year), a reflection of the fact that the city is both a major metropolitan area of Northern Vietnam, and also the country’s political center. In fact, to deal with such tremendous growth, Hanoi’s telephone numbers have been increased to 8 digits to cope with demand.

Religion in Hanoi

The major religious traditions in Vietnam are Buddhism (which fuses forms of Taoism and Confucianism), Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), Islam, Caodaism, and the Hoa Hao sect.

Buddhism was first introduced to Vietnam in the 2nd century, and reached its peak in the Ly dynasty (11th century). It was then regarded as the official religion dominating court affairs. Buddhism was preached broadly among the population, and it enjoyed a profound influence on people’s daily life. Its influence also left marks in various areas of traditional literature and architecture. As such, many pagodas and temples were built during this time.

At the end of the 14th century, Buddhism began to show signs of decline. The ideological influence of Buddhism, however, remained very strong in social and cultural life. Presently, over 70 percent of the population of Vietnam are either Buddhist or strongly influenced by Buddhist practices.

Protestantism was introduced to Vietnam at about the same time as Catholicism. Protestantism, however, remains an obscure religion. At present, most Protestants live in the Central Highlands. There still remains a Protestant church on Hang Da Street in Hanoi. The number of Protestants living in Vietnam is estimated at 400,000, and the highest percentage of Protestants is in the city of Hanoi (source).

Would you pray that God would send more laborers to this city and country to lift His name high?

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