The Imperial Citadel and the Fine Arts Museum

I headed out on my own today, I think cultural tourism appeals less to Mark than it does to me, so I got a taxi to the Imperial Citadel, a World Heritage site which has been the political and military centre of Hanoi since about the 11th century. Most of the buildings are from the French era but there are ongoing archaeological diggings along with command posts and underground bunkers from the Vietnam war.
The place is vast and with very few visitors so I guess the Vietnamese people are too busy trying to make a living to be interested in the past.

A short walk past a giant statue of Lenin took me to the Fine Arts Museum, which again was empty except for a few western tourists. The collection reflects the history of the country, starting with prehistoric carvings then some really beautiful religious statues, including the Buddha at the top of the page. French era paintings, lacquer and silk paintings of scenes follow along with depictions of the independence war against France and the American war. Uncle Ho (Ho Chi Minh) appears in many pictures and remains greatly revered here as the father of the nation and the leader of the independence movement.

Because the Temple of Literature was just over the road I went in there again after at 10 minute wait to cross the road. (I finally had to take my life in my hands and just walk into the traffic) There were, perhaps, even more new graduates dressed up for photos but I managed to find a quiet seat to make the sketch below.

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