Hanoi transforms old military base into pedestrian space

 Hanoi authorities are transforming the former military base of Son Tay Citadel into a new pedestrian zone that will open next month.

The starting point of the pedestrian zone in the outlying district of Son Tay, 40 kilometers from downtown Hanoi, will be the old gate of the Son Tay Town People's Committee office on Pho Duc Chinh Street.

The Cua Tien Bridge at the intersection of Quang Trung - Nguyen Thai Hoc Street will mark the ending point of the pedestrian space, which will have four parking lots in different spots.

The road in front of the Son Tay Culture and Sports Center complex will be used to organize cultural events, entertainment and street art performances.

The Son Tay fortress was a military base built in 1822 by King Minh Mang, second emperor of Nguyen Dynasty, to protect the Thang Long Imperial Citadel. The dynasty was Vietnam's last feudal ruler.

The space in front of a sports stadium will accommodate 50-70 food stalls.

Son Tay Town has renovated its roads and sidewalks, giving the pedestrian area a vastly improved landscape. Local authorities have installed information signs and signposts around the ancient fortress.

In the future, there will be more welcome gates and decorative lights, the authorities say.

The pedestrian zone will cover an area of 34,550 square meters and the four streets Nguyen Thai Hoc, Phan Chu Trinh, Le Loi and Pho Duc Chinh.

The pedestrian zone is scheduled to open from 7 p.m. Saturday until noon Sunday with contemporary art performances, street music, folk dances, portrait painting, sketching, calligraphy, boat racing, fishing and water puppetry.

The area inside the fortress has also been renovated with new roads and lighting systems that will make the place more attractive to visitors.

New public toilets have been installed inside and outside the fortress area.

In the coming days, koi fish and pigeons will be released around two ponds inside the fortress, local authorities say.

The Urban Management Department of Son Tay Town says work on pedestrian zone is 80 percent complete and everything will be completed in time before its official opening on April 30.

The new pedestrian zone will be the fourth such space in Hanoi. The other three are around the Hoan Kiem (Turtle) Lake; the Old Quarter and Trinh Cong Son Street near the West Lake.

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