Exhibition to introduce rare documents about trade fair complex in Hanoi
300 archival documents and images featuring trade fairs and exhibitions that Vietnam participated in between the late 19th century and the mid-20th century will be introduced to the public in Hanoi.
The exhibition "Trade Fair Complex – Convergence of Quintessence" will showcase over 300 valuable archival documents and images of significant exhibitions and fairs that were held in the Grand Palais, an exhibition and trade fair complex in Hanoi built for the 1902 Hanoi world trade fair. Many of them have never been displayed to the public before.
The 5-day exhibit at National Archives Center 1 will be arranged in two parts. The first part will introduce documents and pictures of trade fairs and exhibitions held in Hanoi. The second part will introduce documents and pictures of trade fairs and exhibitions held in France, other colonies in Indochina, or elsewhere.
Through the exhibition, the National Archives Centre 1, its organiser, aims to introduce to the general public a rich and valuable source of archival materials about Vietnam, while creating a space for exploring this heritage.
The Grand Palais was a magnificent and grandiose exhibition and trade fair complex, one of the most prestigious in Indochina. It was completely destroyed by American airstrikes in World War II, and only a pair of bronze lions remains, currently located at the Central Circus Theatre in Hanoi. The complex sat at the site where the Friendship Cultural Palace stands today.
In 1902, Paul Doumer, the governor-general of Indochina, intended to organise a large-scale international trade fair in Hà Nội to showcase the industrial and agricultural products of Tonkin, along with cultural artefacts from Indochina and the Far East.
Architect Adolphe Bussy was assigned the task of designing the Grand Palais Hanoi, modelled after the original in Paris, France.
The complex, covering an area of 17 hectares on Gambetta Boulevard (now Tran Hung Dao Street), was inaugurated on February 26, 1902. The ceremony was attended by Governor-General Doumer, King Thanh Thai, military leaders, high-ranking officials, and numerous guests from all over Indochina.
When Japan invaded Vietnam, the complex was transformed into a military base and then destroyed completely by US bombing. Old photographs of the building were still preserved at the National Archives Centre 1, enabling the public to envision the grand structure of the past.