Hanoi's 10 Best Museums to Visit
- on Oct 25, 2020       By: BN
Hanoi is a passionately rich cultural destination. The Vietnamese capital has indeed the most interesting and beautiful museums in Southeast Asia. Art, ethnography or history museums, Hanoi unveils the ancient and contemporary history of Vietnam through its 10 exceptional museums.
The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is certainly one of the most captivating museums in Hanoi and the country. Designed in close collaboration with the Musée de l'Homme in Paris and inaugurated by President Jacques Chirac in 1997, the Museum of Ethnology presents the traditions of the 54 ethnic groups that make up the country's beautiful ethnic mosaic. Permanent and exceptional colourful exhibitions highlight, in an original way and with many collector's items, the main characteristics of all Vietnamese ethnic groups. This is a must-visit in Hanoi especially if you are travelling to the remote provinces of Northern Vietnam.
Over a hundred years old, the Hoa Lo Prison built by the French colonial authorities reveals its heavy past to you. A moving visit that reveals the inhuman conditions of detention of Vietnamese revolutionary fighters. During the Vietnam War, from 1963 to 1973, Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi imprisoned American pilots whose planes had been shot down during the bombardments in the north of the country. An impressive scenography evokes the harsh prison world that will not leave anyone indifferent.
Managed by the Vietnamese Women's Union, this one-of-a-kind museum, dedicated only to women, was ranked after a successful makeover among the 25 most interesting museums in Asia. This museum remarkably highlights the role of Vietnamese women, both in family life and in the country's contemporary tragic history. You will certainly appreciate the rich collection of more than 1,000 objects and photos, organised thematically on three levels, especially the part devoted to the forms and colours of the costumes of women from ethnic minorities.
Formerly the seat of the French consulate, transformed into a hotel for the Resident of France until 1887. This superb building, designed by the renowned architect Ernest Hébrard and completed in 1932, housed the museum of the French School of the Far East before becoming the national museum of the history of Vietnam. This national heritage building has nearly ten thousand historical objects that cover Vietnam's history from prehistoric times to the early 2000s, including feudal dynasties and struggles for national independence.
Located right next to Ba Dinh Square where President Ho Chi Minh proclaimed Vietnam's independence on September 2, 1945, this museum is dedicated to the life and revolutionary work of the father of the Vietnamese nation and the struggle of Vietnamese people. It is known to house a library of 25,000 books on Ho Chi Minh. A definite visit to combine with the discovery of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum located next door.
Inaugurated on October 6, 2010, as part of the Hanoi millennium celebrations, this museum in the shape of an overturned pyramid 30.7 m high and extending over 54,000 m² traces the history of the city of Hanoi with thousands of objects on display over 6 floors. On the list of the most beautiful museums in the world, this is a must-visit both for its extraordinary architecture and for exploring the fascinating history of the capital of Vietnam. You can also visit the very beautiful gardens outside.
Located in the immediate vicinity of the Temple of Literature in a building built in the 1930s and mixing Eastern and European architectural styles, the Museum of Fine Arts presents works covering a period ranging from prehistory to the present day. You will particularly appreciate the exhibition rooms devoted to the art of Vietnamese silk painting and lacquer as well as Vietnamese painting from the 20th century until the 1970s. Do not miss the chance to admire the magnificent goddess of Mercy with "a thousand eyes and a thousand arms", a major work in lacquered wood which testifies to the artistic genius of the craftsmen of the time.
Another atypical museum in Hanoi which traces the history of the Vietnamese revolution during the Indochina war and especially the Vietnam war, in particular the anti-aircraft fight of the Vietnamese people against the massive bombing campaigns of the American army on Hanoi and Northern Vietnam. Outside the museum, you can see carcasses of B-52s, a Mig 21, anti-aircraft batteries, ramps and a surface-to-air missile guidance system on display. Inside, there is much to see about the defence of Hanoi and the courage of the inhabitants to fight against the enemy.
This museum traces the history of the Vietnamese People's Air Force through interesting testimonies: survival kits for downed American pilots, protective clothing made of woven straw against ball bombs, aircraft engines, objects from downed American aircraft, helicopters, MIG fighter jets, radars, cannons and missiles. A whole range that will definitely delight lovers of military history. In particular, you can visit an impressive heavy transport helicopter dating from the Soviet era.
The first museum dedicated to nature in Vietnam, built within the grounds of the Vietnamese Institute of Science and Technology, showcases Vietnam's rich natural heritage. This recently opened museum, exhibiting more than 40,000 pieces, is dedicated to the preservation, exhibition and dissemination of natural and environmental knowledge. A particularly pleasant discovery for the family due to the large number of animals presented.
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