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Jun 26, 2024 / 06:22

New pedestrian street recalls Hanoi's history

The Ngoc Khanh Lake pedestrian zone will open with several attractions, including a memorial area replicating an ancient Hanoi relic.

When the Ngoc Khanh Lake Pedestrian Zone opens in the capital in the fourth quarter of this year, it will undoubtedly be a top destination for history buffs.

Relax while learning history

 Sunrise over Ngoc Khanh Lake, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. Photo: Trinh Le Phong

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the capital (October 10, 1954 - October 10, 2024), the Ba Dinh District People's Committee will open the Ngoc Khanh Lake commercial pedestrian zone and its surroundings by October 10, the second pedestrian zone in the central district.

Ngoc Khanh Lake in Ngoc Khanh Ward, Ba Dinh District, with a water surface of about 3.6 ha and a circumference of about 750 m, is a special landscape in a city with a high density of high-rise buildings like Hanoi, offering skyline views and serving as a foreground for adjacent buildings. 

The lakefront and promenade are ideal places for meeting, relaxing, entertaining, exercising, shopping, and for residents' businesses and services.  

The sidewalks of Pham Huy Thong, after being completely paved, together with the roadways, make up a total area of about 3,700 sqm, of which about 1,900 sqm is available for commercial activities and entertainment.

Open spaces facing the lake will be created, attracting visitors for sightseeing and shopping, while the living environment of residents will become cleaner, greener, and more civilized.

General architectural plan of the pedestrian zone around Ngoc Khanh Lake.

The plan is to pedestrianize the route around Ngoc Khanh Lake in Ba Dinh District between Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 0 a.m. The district will consider making the pedestrian zone permanent, seven days a week, after the pilot program.

Hanoi currently has five pedestrian zones, including the one around Hoan Kiem Lake and its surroundings, part of the Old Quarter, a 900-meter section of Trinh Cong Son Street, the ancient citadel of Son Tay, Tran Nhan Tong Street, and its environs.

The pedestrian zones have become a brand, a cultural boulevard, and a highlight of the capital. They help ensure safety and order, discourage motorized vehicles, and create a new lifestyle for Hanoi's residents.

Decorations reminiscent of Giang Vo Military School

Hoping to preserve the historical value of the time-honored land, Ba Dinh District pays special attention to details reminiscent of Giang Vo Military School in this urban renovation and beautification project.

Barrier of Giang Vo Military School in Ngoc Khanh Lake pedestrian zone.

In the old days, the Giang Vo Military School was an area for practicing martial arts, teaching military strategies and tactics, and holding high-level military exercises in the capital Thang Long (now Hanoi). It used to be located in Giang Vo, Kim Ma, and Ngoc Khanh wards in Ba Dinh District.

Recent archaeological excavations have revealed the historical values of Ngoc Khanh Lake. There are 111 artifacts now kept at the Hanoi Museum, including tridents, swords, cannons, and other weapons.

The late Prof. Dr. Do Van Ninh, who directly participated in the excavation, said that the weapons of the Giang Vo school were among the rarest and most valuable relics compared to all those unearthed underground in Hanoi.  

 Archaeological site under Ngoc Khanh Lake in 1983. Photo: Hanoi Mausoleum

Stimulating commercial activities

The pedestrianization project has a total investment of nearly VND30 billion (US$1.2 million), which will be funded from the district's budget. 

In addition to the existing shops, the Ngoc Khanh Lake pedestrian area will feature mobile stalls selling OCOP products, as well as street cultural activities during the weekend. In particular, the iconic Giang Vo Duong will be recreated here through creative decorations.

The commercial pedestrian zone will cover the entire area of Ngoc Khanh Lake, Pham Huy Thong Street, and eight alleys connecting the lake with Kim Ma, Nguyen Chi Thanh, and La Thanh Streets, as well as neighboring landmarks within the boundaries of Ngoc Khanh Ward.

Ba Dinh District will arrange stalls and paths so that the main path of the zone - at least 5 meters wide - remains open for pedestrians while meeting fire prevention and firefighting requirements and leaving space for parking cars in case of emergencies.

 The lakefront would be an ideal gathering place for locals and visitors alike.

Therefore, during the opening period of the pedestrian zones, Ba Dinh District will allow the use of part of the roadway of Pham Huy Thong Street to set up mobile stalls in addition to the 32 current and six planned stalls. About 118 businesses have registered to set up stalls in the zone.

In particular, besides boosting business for restaurants and cafes, the zone will offer a combination of markets - including OCOP products - and cultural activities and street performances on weekends and holidays.

Specifically, Ba Dinh District will set up booths to display souvenirs and introduce traditional products and regional specialties on Pham Huy Thong Street. At the same time, the Ngoc Khanh Community House will be open to visitors.

According to a survey by the Ngoc Khanh Ward People's Committee, the zone will create jobs for nearly 450 local residents once it becomes operational.

During the implementation phase of the project, the Ba Dinh District People's Committee will draft the Commercial Pedestrian Zone Operational Regulations to ensure the conditions of business ethics, food hygiene, and safety. Organizations and individuals licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption in the zone will also be required by law to fully comply with the conditions. In parallel, a mechanism for collecting fees for management, infrastructure maintenance, and environmental sanitation will be developed and submitted to the relevant authorities for approval.