On the second day of opening, the villa at 49 Tran Hung Dao attracted culture lovers, some from as far away as Hai Phong, to visit and learn about history and ancient architecture.
On the afternoon of January 27, according to reporters, visitors to the ancient villa at 49 Tran Hung Dao began to crowd from 4:00 p.m. However, the number of visitors is not large, on average less than 20 people visit inside the villa at a time.
This is the first French villa in Hanoi to be methodically restored, expected to become a cultural exchange center in the old neighborhood. The project has a total area of 993 m2, including 400 m2 of floor space, the rest is grass and walkways.
Currently, visitors to the villa do not have to buy tickets. However, many people complain about not having parking lots and having to park on the sidewalk or on the road.
Mr. Nguyen Huy Trung Dung, a photographer who lives near the villa, said he came in the morning but kept coming back in the afternoon to learn more. Over the years, Mr. Dung has paid special attention to the villa and has always been curious about how the building was built.
Mr. Hoang Hai An, living in Hai Phong, took his wife to Hanoi to admire the ancient villa. Since hearing the news that the villa was being restored, he has been waiting for the day the project will open to visitors. Mr. An has a passion for cultural and historical values, especially ancient buildings. He and his wife used to spend time visiting some ancient French architecture in both Hanoi, Hai Phong and Da Lat.
“I have been here many times but now I have the opportunity to visit. The villa makes me clearly feel the time stamp of old Hanoi,” he said.
He suggested that managers should increase the experience for guests such as showing videos and selling some souvenirs printed with the villa’s image.
Inside the rooms of the villa, visitors can view documentary photos or information sheets related to the villa as well as old Hanoi life.
Tourists admire pictures and artifacts related to the villa area. Some of the artifacts on display here include bricks, insulating porcelain, terracotta decorative materials, iron racks buried in the wall, and pieces of wood affected by termites.
The space inside the villa is left empty, only hanging photos and displaying some decorations such as flower vases.
Mr. Trung Mai, founder of Hanoi Ad Hoc and directly involved in the restoration process of the ancient villa, told stories about antiques found in the house. On the afternoon of January 27, he held an introduction to the ancient villa for foreign friends.
This architect said he was very happy when the ancient villa was restored and became a cultural space for people and tourists to experience. Through tours, he hopes people will change their perception of heritage.
“Heritage does not necessarily have to remain the same, they also need to have new life,” he said.
Some vintage photos are annotated with historical events or related contexts. In the middle is a photo of a Hanoi street in the early 20th century; On the left is a photo of a woman, captioned detailing her hairstyle, shoes, and dark fur scarf on a chair.
Visitors can visit the two floors of the villa through the spiral staircase.
Hedvig Liestoel (left), from Norway, and Muchun Mack Niu from New York, visited the villa together on the afternoon of January 27.
“This building located in a special location of Hanoi is a living historical architecture,” said Mack Niu. He commented that the tour was like a history lesson through photos. In addition, he was also impressed when he saw many antiques in the house kept in their original state.
Ms. Quynh Huong, living in Hai Ba Trung district, has known this villa since she was a child and still looks at the old tree in the backyard every time she passes by. When she was young, Huong lived on the second floor of a villa in Lo Duc. When she came here, she felt familiar when she saw the stairs and wooden floors again.
The space outside the old villa. According to the reporter, most visitors want to learn about culture and history.
According to the Hanoi People’s Committee, the city has 1,216 old villas in its management list, built before 1954.