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The Old Quarter in Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi is a bustling area of small, narrow streets packed with hundreds of buildings with charming colonial architecture, Buddhist temples and pagodas all crammed next to each other. As the name denotes, it is the oldest area of the town and has long been an important economic center. The ancient commercial streets that snake between the houses and the preserved shop-houses that lie along these roads were built a little over a century ago and were constructed in their long and narrow style to avoid being hit by high taxes. With height restrictions in place by the Government (most of the buildings in Old Quarter are no more than two stories) the city has taken to growing horizontally. In the Old Quarter area, the houses extend right up to edge of the streets and dangerously close to the railway track that cuts across the neighborhood on its way to the Long Bien Bridge.

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