Hanoi is famous for its dynamic culture with many historical attractions over thousand years. When people think about the places to visit, Hoan Kiem Lake or historical spots such as Bach Ma Temple, the Heritage House, etc. However, a historical site deserves to be seen at least once in Hanoi: Long Bien Bridge.
- The story of Long Bien Bridge
The Long Bien Bridge is not only a historical witness of Hanoi. The bridge is exceptional in the heart of locals because it is the first steel bridge in Hanoi, constructed by the French company Daydé & Pillé of Paris from 1899 to 1902. It was named after Paul Doumer, the French Governor-General in Indochina.
Under the supervision of French experts, the bridge was completed in 1903 by 3,000 Vietnamese workers, using 30,000 cubic meters of stones and metals, 5600 tons of rolled steel, 137 tons of pig iron, 165 tons of iron, and seven tons of lead. Long Bien Bridge was planned to be built in 60 months, but it was finished 45 months later. During the process, along with 3,000 Vietnamese workers, a team of 40 French directors, engineers, experts, and foremen were recruited to run the project.
Long Bien Bridge is the first bridge built across the Red River to connect two Hoan Kiem District and Long Bien District. In the past, it was challenging to land on the other side of the bridge. No proper bridge was built to connect the North-East and the city center. Since the bridge was presented, the transportation and trading from Hanoi to the Northern provinces were accessible.
The bridge played a vital key in the French colonial policy. According to Paul Doumer’s memoirs, after becoming the Governor-General. He recognized the necessity of building an advanced infrastructure to maximize the potential and natural resources of the colony. Therefore, he invested a lot in the plan of public transportation. He considered Long Bien Bridge a critical construction connecting Hanoi and the other provinces. From that, the French authority efficiently handled North Vietnam.
Long Bien Bridge is a crucial position connecting big cities in North Vietnam. Therefore, US aircraft bombed fourteen times during the war, especially from 1965 to 1972. This destroyed most of the bridge’s spans. The remaining spans are a historical witness of the past of Vietnam in general and Hanoi in particular.
Due to the traffic, many new bridges have been installed across the Red River to support public transportation. However, Long Bien Bridge remains a famous historical attraction for local residents and visitors in Hanoi.
2. The design – The Horizontal Eiffel Tower
The bridge has a length of 2290 meters and 896 meters in width. The single-track railway runs in the middle, while two sides are used for motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians. Inspiring a bridge located in Tolbiac, Paris, Long Bien Bridge has a similar design. However, with the unique structure, the bridge was once the second-longest bridge in the world (after the Brooklyn Bridge in the East River in the United States).
It took years to design the bridge. However, the bridge stands out as a dynamic and contemporary design. The construction contains the harmony of the highlights of Western architecture and the gracious Asian style. Therefore, even after 100 years of building, the bridge stands out as a popular design.
3. Things to do in Long Bien Bridge.
- Watching the sunrise and sunset
Due to the location, the bridge is a perfect spot to watch the sunrise and sunset in Hanoi. You can enjoy a peaceful city in the morning when you walk along the bridge, waiting for the light. The moment the sun appears, listening to the sound of vehicles on the bridge, it is the alarm to start a day in Hanoi.
Hanoi is a hectic city during the day. However, while waiting for the sunset, you can observe another slice of Hanoi. Sitting on the bridge, waiting for the evening, and enjoying the moment of life is what visitors should not miss when coming to the bridge.
- Seeing Hanoi from a different angle.
Crossing the Red River, Long Bien Bridge has a panoramic view to observe the beauty of Hanoi. On the bridge, visitors can enjoy the brilliant light, the enormous natural landscape, and the ancient vibe blending the modern of the bridge. When the sun goes down, the colorful lights of the city are on. From the middle of the bridge, you can see both coastlines surrounding Hanoi. After a busy day, it’s time to sit down and appreciate life with a cup of coffee.
Long Bien Bridge is like the door of Hanoi as it connects other parts of the North and the center. Therefore, standing on the bridge, you can see a completed Hanoian day: going to work and returning home. Sometimes, catching the face of a mother who is content to come back home or a father talking his infants to school is a great moment.
- Nightwalking on the bridge.
Does it sound unusual? However, many locals say visiting the bridge at night has a better atmosphere and experience. When the bridge is not busy with many vehicles, people like walking along the bridge, chatting with friends, and spending time with family. Many street vendors around the bridge offer culinary specialties and snacks at night. Therefore, why not visit the bridge once at night?
Long Bien Bridge is notable in Hanoi for its historical spot and design. It has become a favorite spot for locals to spend time with friends and family. Besides visiting cultural attractions in the Hanoi center, the bridge is a must-visit place to remember the unforgettable past and listen to the story of the bridge during wartime.