HA NOI — The city of Ha Noi evolved quickly from the period of French colonisation, from an oriental-style urban centre to a modern city.
|Growth over time: Old photos, maps, and drawings of Ha Noi from 1873-1945 are on display at a new exhibition in the capital. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
Two French historians and doctors, Philippe Le Failler and Olivier Tessier from the Ha Noi-based French school of the Far East (Le Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-orient), selected old photos, maps, and drawings of Ha Noi from 1873-1945 which are now on display at a new exhibition in the capital.
"The idea is to help the public discover the transformation process of the capital," says Le Failler.
"The photos on display were selected from others exhibitions that we organised recently. They are not necessarily the most beautiful photos of Ha Noi, but we prefer these documentary photos. We put together the documentation from France and Viet Nam. We wanted to show to the public the extraordinary evolution of the city, from 30,000 inhabitants in 1887 to the millions now," adds Le Failler.
The exhibition entitled Mot So Hinh Anh Tieu Bieu Ve Ha Noi Giai Doan 1873-1945 (Ha Noi Views and Prospects for the Period 1873-1945) is held at the Thang Long-Ha Noi Heritage preservation Centre.
The exhibition features more than 80 panels of photos, documents, and drawings of Ha Noi from 1873, when French forces started to occupy the city, to the August 1945 Revolution and the country's independence. The show is divided into five parts. The first part features Ha Noi of the 19th century, the second features the city's first restructuring in a European style (1873-97). The third part reminds the public of the busy time for construction from 1897-1906. The fourth part focuses on the period of 1906-40, with the strong development and need of urbanisation. Finally the public can learn about the time between 1940 and 1945. Daily life on the city's busy streets amid trade activities are revealed in the period. The public can also see valuable photos of monuments and historical sites around the city, such as the municipal administration building of Ha Noi in 1897, which is now the Ha Noi's People's Committee, the Paul Bert Junior School in 1897 (now the Trung Vuong high school), Cho Lon (market) which is now Dong Xuan Market, and the Hoan Kiem (Restored Sword) Lake.
The exhibition is co-organised by the French school of the Far East and the Thang Long-Ha Noi Heritage preservation Centre.
"We noticed that in 2010, during the celebrations Ha Noi's 1,000th anniversary, many exhibitions were held and many books about the evolution of the city were presented to the public. We hope that this exhibition will help those who were not in Ha Noi during the celebrations to know more about what happened on the other side of the Thang Long citadel's walls and the city's evolution," says Le Failler.
"They are precious original documents for everyone who loves Ha Noi to know about. This exhibition is the result of the cultural exchange between Viet Nam and France," says Professor Phan Huy Le, chairman of the Viet Nam Association of Historical Sciences.
"I am very interested in the exhibition. I am glad to know more about the life of our ancestors and the development process of the country," says Nguyen Thi Xuan, a 76-year-old woman from Ha Noi who accompanies her nephew from HCM City, to the exhibition.
The exhibition runs until January 31 at No 9 Hoang Dieu Street. — VNS