"the villages in the hills north of Hanoi"

 

Hanoi Montage
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeHanoi Montage - Credit: Cheong.

 Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam, and was also the capital of French Indochina from 1902-1954.  The French founded the first three European-style universities in the city, which still exist as Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi National University and the Vietnam Academy of Fine Arts.  The City is the most important centre of education in Vietnam, meaning prospective students from all around the country travel there in the summer to take their entrance exams; many will continue to live and work in the city after completing their studies.  Much of the architecture remains in the French style, although with over a thousand years of other history there is plenty to demonstrate the presence of other eras and dynasties.  The site of the city's oldest university, the wonderfully named Temple of Literature, still exists in the Old Quarter; it was founded in 1070.  Hanoi also boasts a plethora of museums and art galleries, making it an important cultural centre.  Geographically, the city is built on the low land between two rivers, and has many lakes.  The old temples dotted around the shores add to the lovely scenery.  The city's second airport is currently being built, and will be the largest in Asia, therfore adding to Hanoi's prestige, hopefully increasing both further investment and tourism.