Language & Culture

The story behind street names in Vietnam

The streets in every town and city in Vietnam all seem to have the same names: Hùng Vương, Lẽ Duẩn, Lý Tự Trọng, Nguyễn Trãi, Nguyễn Huệ, Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai…

The reason being that their names are taken from important people or events from Vietnamese history. (Aside from Hanoi’s old quarter where the names take after the trades that could be found on those streets.)

Hai Bà Trưng – two sisters who fought against the Chinese way back in the 1st century AD.

Đinh Tiên Hoàng – the first emperor of Vietnam after 1000 years of Chinese dominance. 10th Century.

Mạc Đĩnh Chi – a court official and ambassador to China. 14th Century.

Bùi Thị Xuân – a woman general who fought against the Nguyen army. 18th Century.

Nguyễn Du – one of Vietnam’s most famous poets. 19th Century.

Even a handful of Europeans who made waves in Vietnam such as Pasteur, the famous microbiologist, and French-Swissman Yersin, credited as the founder of Da Lat, get on the map in some cities.

But it’s not just about people.

Điện Biên Phủ – the location of a notable battle which signalled the defeat of French forces in Indochina in the 20th Century.

Cách Mạng Tháng 8 is a large and busy road in Ho Chi Minh City. Due to the long name, many expats refer to it as ‘CMT eight’. I never gave the name any thought, until one day I found out that the name meant ‘August Revolution’.

Want to know more about street names in Vietnam? Check out this labelled google map of HCMC:

Street names in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Interactive google map explaining the meaning behind street names in Ho Chi Minh City. Source.

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