Hanoi offers tourists historical sound maps

By Minh Ngoc, Thanh Nien News

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Tourists walk through a Hanoi street listening to the Echoes sound map app. Photo supplied Tourists walk through a Hanoi street listening to the Echoes sound map app. Photo supplied

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Hanoi has launched a new audio tourism experience in the Vietnamese capital that will bring visitors in touch with the forgotten sounds of the city's historical core.
Users can run the app on a smartphone and a pair of headphones; alternatively they can borrow a smartphone and earphones from Echoes, the company who created the software.
The locative audio software has two parts – the Creator, which allows users to upload new soundscapes onto a map, and the App which allows users to access a menu of free sound maps.
The sounds include everything from the tinkling church bells of the colonial era, to the traditional ca tru music or the echoes of a street vendor’s cries.
All are meant to help visitors picture Hanoi through the ages.
Each user creates his or her own soundtrack, depending on the path they take.
Participation is free and those interested only have to register on the website.
Echoes also makes free hardware available to those who don't have any.
Around 30 local and foreign tourists took the Echoes project for a test run in late November.
The initiative is being supported by the Embassy of Denmark, which is organizing two sets of experiences in Hanoi and Copenhagen.
The program is being designed by two sound artists to design its maps: Luong Hue Trinh from Vietnam and Hans Sydow from Denmark.
Hanoi is the first Asian location in 11 countries to host the aural experiences.
Dinh Le Van, a coordinator for the project, built a map of street sounds for Hanoi last year, but this year, they decided to focus on historical sounds.
They have consulted historian Duong Trung Quoc, who is currently General Secretary of the Vietnamese Science and History Society, to dig up old recordings.

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