87 Ma May Traditional House
Ma May Street
Ma May Street, once located on the bank of the Red river, was a very lively commercial harbor. It consisted of two small streets: Hang May and Hang Ma. Hang May, located near the pier, specialized in the selling of rattan and bamboo products. Hang Ma, close to Hang Bac Street, sold votive papers. At the beginning o fthe 19th century, the two streets were combined into Ma May Street.
In the French time, the street was called Quan Co Den which means Black Flags Street. The traditional occupations (rattan and votive papers) disappeared. In this street were many local and foreigners businessmen gathering to carry out their trading business, who then settled down here altogether.
From 1999, the street changed a lot and became one of the more interesting streets of Hanoi.
Nowadays, on this street at 87 house number has a very famous house which attracts many foreign tourists to visit this traditional house bearing typical architecture from at the end of the 19th century. In addition, this place is also in the destinations of the guided hanoi food tours
The ancient house
In 1945, the government requisitioned the house and five families settled down there until 1999. These people had various occupations: grocer, tailor, state employee, martial arts teacher.
This house is typical of the traditional architecture in the Old Quarter: It has a narrow facade and a succsession of buildings and courtyards, hence the popular reference as a “tube-house”. The shop is located in the first building overlooking the street. It is closed at night by removable wooden panels. On the second floor are the living room and the ancestors’altar, the most sacred place for the family.
The second building is dedicated to the living area. The kitchen and the bathroom are located at the far end of the house.
The two courtyards allows a good ventilation and natural light in the house
This house has been restored within the cooperation agreement between Hanoi and Toulouse (France) cities and was inaugurated on the 27th of October 1999.
The structure elements in a good shape as well as the traditional succession of buildings and courtyards have been preserved. The modifications made by the former residents – partition of the inner space, split of the shop front in two parts, new three floors building at the back of the plot of land – were suppressed to give back the house its original shape.
It was the first restoration of this kind in the Old Quarter. Since then, the house helps to promote at local and international levels the cooperation projects, and more specifically to present the Vietnamese architecture and building techniques (facade, inner house organization). It was recognized as Vietnamese National Heritage in 2004.