Even as Hanoi charges into the future with flashy new skyscrapers and brand-new metro lines, the capital manages to hang on to its traditions. Particularly in busy downtown neighborhoods like the Old Quarter, locals have taken a leap into the 21st century and yet old-school storefronts, ancient monuments and bamboo-toting street vendors still remain.
Our favorite Flickr user, manhhai, has uncovered a series of images from 1896 Hanoi which document the daily comings and goings in this same downtown neighborhood, providing a glimpse into a 19th-century capital with decidedly fewer tourists and less chaos than the downtown Hanoi of today.
Outside the gate of Quan Thanh Temple near West Lake.
Two people use a traditional Vietnamese wheelbarrow, made entirely of wood, to transport heavy goods.
A man drives a rickshaw on a downtown Hanoi street.
Hanoians cross a downtown intersection.
A woman lifts a bamboo pole as she prepares to cross a downtown street.
An outdoor barber and ear-cleaning station.
A busy downtown street.
A local barber cleans his client's ears.
Near Dong Xuan Market on the eve of Tet 1896.
Cho Gao Street near Dong Xuan Market on the eve of Tet 1896.
Hang Dao Street.
A local parasol shop.
A sandal shop on Hang Giay Street.
Hang Ngang Street, formerly a Cantonese neighborhood.