Hanoi Post Office – more-than-100-year-old symbol of the capital
Since the beginning of construction of the first block in 1893, this complex has had 125 years of existence with the familiar name “Post office by the lake”. For a long time, the Hanoi Post Office clock has been deeply imprinted on the the people subconsciousness of the Capital, fellow countrymen and international friends. It is interesting to note that for people living in Hanoi, Hanoi Post Office is a popular meeting spot for friends to hang out in the city center, no need to specify the address. The building faces directly Hoan Kiem Lake, stretching along the whole of Dinh Tien Hoang street and above ..This special historical landmark seems to have “eaten” into the memory and subconscious of every Hanoi citizen.
From the “technological imprint” of the nineteenth century
The reason for such a straightforward and uncomplicated name is quite simple: the building is located next to Hoan Kiem Lake, which was planned by the French as the central space of Hanoi since the late nineteenth century. For the colonial government, the need to build post offices and communication centers was quite urgent. Therefore, the area of Bai An Pagoda (built in 1842) next to Sword Lake was demolished to build the Hanoi Post Office.
Designed and built by Henri Vildieu from 1894 to 1899, the Hanoi Post Office possesses a neoclassical architectural style (quite similar to the French administrative offices in the late nineteenth century). With a simple design with 4 blocks of 2-storey buildings, the use of wooden stairs, clock mounted on the roof and roofed with black ardoise tiles, the building has the main view overlooking Francis Garnier Boulevard (now Dinh Tien Hoang Street) and the other side towards Chavassieux street (i.e Le Thach street).
Then and now comparison of the Post Office building –
For the people of the capital, Hanoi Post Office has become an endearing feature of Hanoi.
According to writer Nguyen Ngoc Tien, the end of the nineteenth century was also the time when the French completed the telecommunication network in Vietnam. Telegraph information was established between Hanoi and Saigon, Vinh, Hue and Da Nang, while Hanoi Post Office in 1889 had initiated all forms of operation: post, telegraph and telephone. Thus, this project is a milestone marking the “modernization” of information transmission in Vietnam compared to the rudimentary means before.
Furthermore, according to the documents of the National Archives Center I, due to growing demand, the buildings of the Hanoi Post Office have been repaired and expanded very quickly since its inception. In particular, the building on Le Thach Street has recently been renovated and expanded three times continuously since 1910 and changed quite a lot compared to the original design.
.. To the resounding “heritage” in the memory of Hanoians
The main building of Hanoi Post Office overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake
During the days of national resistance in 1946, the Hanoi Post Office was the site of many important battles between Hanoi soldiers and self-defense groups with French soldiers. Part of the architecture of this complex was destroyed, but the Post Office was later taken over by Hanoi and put into use after 1954. Subsequently, in the Resistance War Against America, the roof of the post office was chosen as one of the locations to install anti-aircraft guns to protect the skies of the city of Hanoi.
Hanoi Post Office (Nowadays VNPT Hanoi Building) by Hoan Kiem Lake
Especially, since the mid-1970s, the main building of the Hanoi Post Office has been rebuilt on the foundation of the old building and completed in 1978. The new 5-storey building possesses a modern architecture with a large scale as it lies along the whole Dinh Tien Hoang Street. The highlight of this building is a 4-sided clock cluster, 4.5 square on each side, with a system of 4 loudspeakers.
4-sided clock cluster
For a long time, the Hanoi Post Office clock has been deeply and subconsciously of the people of the Capital, fellow countrymen and international friends.
Since the beginning of 2016, the Ministry of Information and Communications has sent a written request to the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group to comment on the change of words under the household of Hanoi Post Office. According to the Ministry of Information and Communications, the words “Hanoi Post Office” changed to “VNPT Hanoi” causing bad public opinion among the people.
Department of Culture – Sports of Hanoi said that the owner of this building (Hanoi Telecommunications Company) should return the name of Hanoi Post Office as before and said, it will propose the City People’s Committee to consider in accordance with tendency to agree with public opinion on the current name should be changed – VNPT Hanoi with the inherent name of this project is Hanoi Post Office.
“There are ideas that the main building later built has a slightly stiff shape, does not fit the soft style of the old French architecture that is alongside. However, this continuation clearly reflects the flow of Hanoi’s history, from the French Colonial period, through the two wars, to the Subsidy Period to the Present Day ”- said writer Nguyen Ngoc Tien.
Hanoi Post Office
Address: 75 Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội