Hanoi to restore old street

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Hanoi will restore one of its oldest streets in celebration of its 1,000th birthday this year, preservation project organizers have announced.

Designers of the project will collect local public opinions on the initiative until July 16, at which point they will begin restoring Ta Hien street in time for the the big celebration this October.

The project is expected to cost nearly VND15 billion (US$786,000) to restore the street in the center of Hanoi's Old Quarter in Hoan Kiem District.

"This is one of a few streets that still has most of its original structures in place," said Pham Tuan Long, head of the Hanoi Old Quarter Management Board.

The street will be paved with natural rocks and the houses restored, planners said.

One side of the street is an example of Vietnam's traditional architecture while the other shows rich French influences.

But some houses have lost their original due to either neglect or modern renovations.

The street is more than 200 meters long but the pilot project will restore 52 meters only.

If successfull, the board aims to expand the initiative to several other Old Quarter areas.

Nguyen Hoang Long from the Institute of Architecture, Urban and Rural Planning, the project's designer, said work on the street will provide experience for restoring more of Hanoi's old streets .

Ta Hien was paved in the early 20th century and is home to Quang Lac Theatre, which is known for its performances of tuồng (classical drama).

The institute said restoring houses is different from restoring temples or pagodas, so the work needs the specific input of local residents to accomodate their everyday lives.

Residents can book a day for their house to be restored, Long said.

"We will try to work the fastest we can as not to affect the residents' life and trade."

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