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Cantonese community space brought back to life in heart of Hanoi Old Quarter

Cantonese community space brought back to life in heart of Hanoi Old Quarter

Tuesday, January 11, 2022, 11:47 GMT+7
Cantonese community space brought back to life in heart of Hanoi Old Quarter
The main hall exhibits a calligraphic artwork called 'Snake Dragon on the Cloud' in its glamorous and spacious background at the Cantonese Assembly Hall in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

The Cantonese Assembly Hall in Hanoi has been brought to life after three years of refurbishment, rekindling nostalgic memories of the Cantonese community.

The newly-renovated historic site has drawn attention from the youth in the capital city on weekends.

This place marks the 400-year history of the Cantonese community since they migrated to and settled down in the old Tho Xuong District, which spans Hang Ngang Street, Hang Buom Street, and Lan Ong Street in the Old Quarter nowadays.

The site covers a total area of about 1,800 square meters and is believed to be the main place where the Cantonese community’s religious and trading activities took place.

A space which stores artifacts belonging to the ancient Cantonese community at the Cantonese Assembly Hall. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

A space which stores artifacts belonging to the ancient Cantonese community at the Cantonese Assembly Hall in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

The assembly hall reopened upon the completion of renovation at the end of 2021, repurposed as an exhibition center named the Center for Art and Culture at 22 Hang Buom Street.

The hall rekindles its long-built memories and offers visitors lively experiences with varied exhibitions displayed in separated spaces, consisting of Phieu Dieu (Adventure), Khong Gian Ky Uc 22 Hang Buom (22 Hang Buom Memories), Ky Hoa Pho Co 2021 (Sketch of the Old Quarter 2021).

The assembly hall, with its large space and ancient architectural features embodying the cultural interference and impact from China and France, leaves an impression on history lovers of all ages.

The exhibition “Ky hoa pho co 2021” (Sketch of the Old Quarter 2021) reminds the nostalgics of an old Hanoi in its old days. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

The exhibition 'Ky Hoa Pho Co 2021' (Sketch of the Old Quarter 2021) reminds the nostalgics of an old Hanoi in its old days. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

The design strictly follows the traditional structures of Cantonese assembly halls, which are arranged into many floors and layers with different compartments.

Artists come to the hall to seek nostalgia and moments that bring them a sense of artistic freedom.

Thuy Linh, a local from Hoan Kiem District, talks about her childhood at the hall and how she and her friends have grown up with this place.

“My childhood was joining buddies to have a good time, just outside the hall, which now turns gorgeous to my adult eyes with its inside appearance," Linh said.

“This is the first time I have seen the hall’s internal space, and it surprised me a lot with such beauty.

"It feels like I was rewinding back my childhood footage with familiar images of the old towns that I see from the sketches."

The ancient worshiping halls of the Cantonese Assembly Hall remain intact with its traditional values. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

The ancient worship spaces of the Cantonese Assembly Hall remain intact with its traditional values. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

"This site is far beyond what we see on social media and we are seduced by its nostalgic and glamorous visuals," said two young ladies rushing to the hall after a 30-minute journey from Bac Ninh to Hanoi.

Plus the space for art and culture, the hall’s unique and esthetic backgrounds also captivate young photography enthusiasts.

In the meantime, visitors coming here must strictly follow safety measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission such as scanning a QR code for health declaration and maintaining a physical distance.

The exhibitions are open to the public from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on weekdays and 8:00 am to 9:00 pm on weekends.

A young Hanoian lady poses for pictures in front of the door leading to the Mother Goddess Worship hall in the Cantonese Assembly Hall. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

A young lady poses for a picture in front of the door leading to the Mother Goddess Worship hall in the Cantonese Assembly Hall in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

The Cantonese Assembly Hall tells the Cantonese stories in its meticulous statues and reliefs. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

The Cantonese Assembly Hall tells the Cantonese stories in its meticulous statues and reliefs. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

An artifact is on display at the exhibition, recreating the story of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

An artifact is on display at the exhibition, recreating the story of Romance of the Three Kingdoms at the Cantonese Assembly Hall in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

A photography enthusiast pays a visit with her camera to the Cantonese Assembly Hall in Hanoi. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

A photography enthusiast pays a visit with her camera to the Cantonese Assembly Hall in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

The Cantonese Assembly Hall still preserves the Cantonese typical style in its roof tiles. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

The Cantonese Assembly Hall still preserves the Cantonese typical style in its roof tiles. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre

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Nhu Nguyet / Tuoi Tre News

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