Hanoi is a capital with a millennium-long history. Hanoi's development began in earnest when Emperor Ly Thai To moved the capital there in 1010. The Temple of the Literature date from that period. Hanoi continued to serve as a capital until 1788, when the Le dynasty was overthrown, after which Emperor Gia Long moved the capital to Hue. From 1902 to 1953, Hanoi was the capital of French Indochina. While the Opera house and several villas have been restaured, most of the former French quarters have the nostalgia of a fading postcard of colonial French architecture. After 1954, Hanoi became the capital of North Vietnam, and following the 1975 events it became the capital of the unified country.
The architecture therefore includes some of the most known Vietnamese classic monuments, intact examples of French colonial buildings, and a few communist monuments. Hanoi is a pleasant city, with lakes, many trees, and open boulevards. The lively and dense old quarter is still divided according to specialty trades, among its narrow streets. There are several opportunities to see traditional arts performances such as water puppets.