What to see
Over the past 100 years, Long Bien Bridge has been a witness to all the historical events that made the capital city like it is today. The bridge is the symbol to Hanoi in the 20th Century.
The bridge was started in August 1898. After 5 years, in February 1902 the bridge was being used for the first time. The architects Daydé & Pillé of Paris designed and put the cantilever bridge across the Red river a reality. Helping them were the 3000 local Vietnamese workers who dived in the water to start the base and hammer in the nuts and bolts. Some of them died while making the bridge. The bridge is 2.4km long, one of the longest in Asia at that time. The bridge has 20 cylinder legs of 13.5m tall from the lowest water level. A special note about the bridge is the use of left side rather than the normal right side of the road on any other place in Vietnam.
During the French colonial era, Long Bien Bridge held a strategic importance to the control of Northern of Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, the bridge helped connect Hanoi to the important Hai Phong port. Tons of rice were transported over the bridge to the battle field in the South to support the army. The bridge witnessed the return of victorious Vietnamese troop on the train from the battle field during the war with the French. Noticing the strategic location, during the second Vietnam War, Long Bien Bridge was heavily bombed by 20 USAF F-105 fighter-bombers in 1967. However, despite the attack, the transportation of food and ammunitions were not disrupted. The Vietnamese bravely defended the dearly important bridge. Despite standing after the bombing, the bridge suffered severe damage. It closed for only a year in 1972 when the first coordinated laser guided bombing was used. After that, with only half of the bridge retains its original shape, the bridge was rebuilt to cover the holes. A project with the French government is being undertaken to restore the original appearance of the bridge.
Today, Long Bien Bridge is still being used by train, mopeds, bicycles and pedestrians. Other heavier vehicles use other nearby bridge to prevent damaging the century old bridge. For many visitors, Long Bien Bridge is a prestigious symbol of the perseverance of local troop, protecting the important blood line during the Vietnam War. This is also true for the elderly who has participated in defending the bridge years ago. Even now, the bridge still has its poetic significance with people living along the river bank, selling their products on the bridge. Standing on the bridge at sunrise or sunset brings anyone a sense of nostalgic of the old Hanoi.