Melissa Garcia Lamarca explains the character and history of the neighborhood:
"The urban morphology and function of the Ancient Quarter has, remarkably, remained largely intact throughout Vietnam's more recent history of French colonization and decades of war. Its "spaghetti" street pattern remains from the 15th century, when trade streets emerged that specialized in a particular craft or good, still reflected in street names today. Constant division of properties over the centuries led to the creation of the Quarter's characteristic "tube" or "tunnel" houses, providing live-work spaces for the residents of the area."
Post-Communism, the area surged in popularity and is dealing with issues of preservation and expansion.