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Nov 17, 2023 / 13:30

Make the Hoan Kiem Lake pedestrian zone an attractive destination

Seven years after its inauguration, the pedestrian zone around Hoan Kiem Lake and its surroundings has become a must-see destination for visitors to the city.

Hoan Kiem District authorities, in coordination with Hanoi's Department of Culture and Sports, continue to take initiatives to make the pedestrian zone around Hoan Kiem Lake attractive, Nguyen Quoc Hoan, Deputy Chairman of Hoan Kiem District People's Committee, told Hanoimoi Newspaper.

Could you share the achievements seven years after the launch of the pedestrian zone around Hoan Kiem Lake and its surroundings on weekends?

 Local and foreign visitors enjoy many activities in the pedestrian zone around Hoan Kiem Lake. Photo: Pham Hung/The Hanoi Times

In 2016, the Hoan Kiem District People's Committee, with the approval of the city government, opened the weekend pedestrian zone around Hoan Kiem Lake and its surroundings to build a community-oriented space, improving the living environment, and highlighting the values of local tangible and intangible cultural heritage to contribute to preserving, honoring, and introducing Hanoi's history, culture, and people.

The pedestrian zone around Hoan Kiem Lake and its surroundings has become a brand, a highlight of the capital city, creating a place of leisure for the local community and domestic and foreign visitors.

The estimated number of domestic and foreign tourists visiting the pedestrian zone is about 3,000-5,000 during the day and 15,000-20,000 in the evening. Security and order are always guaranteed.

The pedestrianization of the area around Hoan Kiem Lake and its surroundings has encouraged walking, gradually reduced motorized traffic, and created a new way of life for people in the capital.

At the same time, it has effectively promoted the values of cultural heritage, water landscape and greenery of Hoan Kiem Lake - a special national monument.


How does the district plan to preserve and enhance the value of Hoan Kiem Lake and its surrounding areas to attract more visitors?

Recently, efforts to conserve, restore and promote heritage values in Hanoi's Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake area have yielded positive results. Tangible heritage values have always been the focus of conservation and restoration efforts.

The district's People's Committee has cleaned up the area, renovated and restored 22 historical sites, and preserved 24 heritage houses. The intangible heritage of the area has also been revived and promoted through the restoration of 14 festivals.

The district has also renovated and paved the sidewalks of all 79 streets with cobblestones, combined with the cleaning of underground sewers.

Nguyen Quoc Hoan, Deputy Chairman of Hoan Kiem District People's Committee. Photo: Hanoimoi Newspaper

After restoration and revitalization, many historical sites and urban spaces in Hanoi's Old Quarter have become cultural and artistic centers, showcasing traditional crafts associated with the trading streets and villages. They contribute to promoting the values of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

Notable examples include the Heritage House at 87 Ma May Street, the Kim Ngan Temple at 42 Hang Bac Street, the Hanoi Old Quarter Cultural Exchange Center at 50 Dao Duy Tu Street, the Quan De Temple at 28 Hang Buom Street, the Dong Lac Community House at 38 Hang Dao Street, the Nam Huong Community House at 75 Hang Trong Street, and the Arts and Culture Center at 22 Hang Buom Street.

In addition, Hoan Kiem District regularly hosts distinctive cultural and artistic programs and activities at historical sites. These include events showcasing the lifestyles of ancient Hanoians, traditional music performances, exhibitions and introduction of traditional handicraft villages associated with the Old Quarter, revival of traditional festivals, and promotion of the Hang Trong folk painting genre to the public.

These programs always attract active participation from the community, contributing to the sustainable and long-term preservation of the cultural heritage of the Old Quarter.


What strategies do the local authorities propose to preserve the Old Quarter's cultural beauty while building Hoan Kiem Lake's pedestrian space as a fresh, modern, and unique tourist attraction?

Hoan Kiem Lake's pedestrianization and surroundings have revealed limitations and challenges. The improper installation of stalls and inappropriate display of products have somewhat spoiled the pedestrian experience. Midnight running events have disturbed the routine of residents.

To address these issues, we, in cooperation with the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports, have proposed to the Municipal People's Committee to allow only cultural and artistic events that have distinctive characteristics and promote and showcase local culture.

These artistic activities in the pedestrian zone will also require careful consideration to avoid noise pollution. Events should be organized away from residential areas to minimize the impact on residents' daily lives.

The district has also launched a nighttime economic development project to tap the potential and maximize the district's existing resources.

This includes pedestrian areas in the Old Quarter and around Hoan Kiem Lake, Dong Xuan Night Market, and food streets such as Tong Duy Tan, Hang Buom, and Ta Hien. The goal is to make Hoan Kiem an attractive destination for night entertainment, shopping, culinary experiences, and other nighttime activities for tourists.

The district has also publicized a hotline system of the district People's Committee, the district and district police, and the People's Committees of all 18 wards to assist residents and tourists who are out at night in the area. They have installed a security surveillance camera system at key locations and major roads to ensure public order and safety, with plans to expand the system throughout the district.

 Artisans from the village of Te Tieu perform a puppet show. Photo: Hoai Nam/ The Hanoi Times

After being officially recognized as a city-level tourist area, what is the Hoan Kiem District authority's plan to manage and develop the walking space sustainably and effectively?

According to Decision No. 5526 of October 31, 2023, the Hanoi People's Committee recognized the Hoan Kiem Lake area - its vicinity and the Old Quarter of Hanoi - as a city-level tourism area.

Under the decision, the district instructed the Hoan Kiem Lake and Old Quarter Management Board to coordinate with relevant departments and agencies to propose solutions for sustainable tourism development.

The district has launched tours to visit the historical sites of Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter, including heritage and electric car tours around the ancient streets. They have also collaborated with the Hanoi Tourism Department to organize the "Hanoi Night - The Touch of Emotions" program.

The district will work closely with the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports and other departments and agencies to make the pedestrian area around Hoan Kiem Lake and the Hanoi Old Quarter more inviting in the future.

Through these efforts, they aim to create a space for cultural exploration, architectural appreciation, culinary experiences, and entertainment for residents and tourists.

Thank you!