Long Bien Bridge
A historical witness of Hanoi’s history
With a history of over 100 years, Long Bien Bridge is a meaningful historical and symbolic witness to the people of Hanoi Capital. Moreover, this bridge is also an ideal place to admire the panoramic view of Hanoi from above and enjoy the most relaxing, peaceful and quiet moments amid the hustle and bustle of the city.
The location of Long Bien Bridge
Long Bien Bridge is the first steel bridge to cross the Red River, linking Long Bien and Hoan Kiem District of Hanoi. Besides, the bridge is also considered an important historical evidence, which has witnessed the ups and downs of Hanoi through the war against France and the United States.
Long Bien Bridge was built in 1898, inaugurated on February 28, 1902 and so far the bridge has covered itself with a time blanket despite being repaired many times. Therefore, after the Ngoc Son – Thap But Complex and One Pillar Pagoda, Long Bien Bridge is one of the most unique and typical symbols of Hanoi’s history and culture.
The ups and downs in the history of Long Bien Bridge
In 1897, the Long Bien Bridge project was approved by the Governor General of Indochina Paul Doumer for the purpose of improving the infrastructure and the need for French colonial exploration. In 1898, Governor General of Indochina chose Daydé & Pille as the main contractor for the design and construction of the bridge with an authorized payment of 5,900.00 francs.
However, in fact, the total cost of this largest Indochina project is 6,200,000 francs. The construction of the Long Bien Bridge is also meant to facilitate the flow of goods from the centre of the Northern Delta to Hai Phong and back to Hanoi. On September 13, 1889, the bridge was officially constructed on the left bank of the Cai River and designed by Daydé & Pille in the style of the key.
After nearly 3 years of construction, on February 28, 1902, the bridge was completed and named Doumer Bridge – the name of Governor General of Indochina. At that time, this was the largest bridge in Indochina and was praised by the French as a bridge connecting two centuries.
The Doumer Bridge includes a 2,290m long crossing over the river, comprising 19 steel beams, spanning on 20 pillars over 40m high, and 896m of a stone leading path to the bridge. In addition, the bridge is designed to have railroad tracks running in the middle and on either side are for pedestrian and vehicles.
At the same time, the river ferry terminal of Hanoi was abolished, so the need for trade and travel of the people was no longer difficult. Besides, the Doumer steel bridge also helped the colonial colonization plan become favourable and made the connection between Hanoi and the Northern provinces more convenient.
After Hanoi Liberation Day (10/10/1954), Tran Van Lai, a Hanoi physician changed its name to Long Bien Bridge, which still remains today and becomes one of most beautiful tourist destinations of Hanoi.
During the American War (1954-1975), the Vietnamese army built two anti-aircraft artillery battalions in the Red River. They used the high spots on the bridge to make aerial bombardments to bomb US aircraft. At that time, the bridges were bombed by US aircraft and replaced by semi-permanent beams to ensure uninterrupted bridge traffic.
With the development of technology and population growth, after 20 years of use, the Daydé & Pille company built two additional lanes along the bridge. Specifically, each lane is 2m wide and pedestrian sidewalks are 1m.
By 1924, the governor of Indochina issued a regulation on traffic on the bridge, namely, pedestrians only walk on the sidewalks in the opposite direction of the vehicle and the speed limit of the vehicle across the bridge is 15km / hour.
In addition, there were many other “interesting” rules such as animals under the control of people can cross the bridge at all hours but if going in herds, they can only go through the bridge from midnight to dawn; it was prohibited to burn garbage or make fire on the bridge,… Currently, Long Bien Bridge is only for motorcycles, trains, bicycles and pedestrians.
By 2002, Long Bien Bridge was repaired and reinforced with unique style both in design and construction materials. Thus, it became the second largest bridge in the world and most prominent at the time.
Long Bien Bridge not only plays an important part in helping people across the river but also acting as a strong support for the transport of weapons and food during the war. In the two resistance wars against France and America, even though being bombed and broken more than 10 times, Long Bien Bridge is still in operation today. The bridge is still standing thanks to the efforts to preserve and protect by many patriotic Vietnamese.
At present, although Hanoi has more spacious and modern bridges such as Thang Long, Chuong Duong, Vinh Tuy, Thanh Tri and Nhat Tan, Long Bien Bridge is still regarded as a very important witness of Hanoi for two centuries.
The values of Long Bien Bridge
Long Bien Bridge has always played the role of connecting motorbikes, bicycles and trains travelling from shore to shore of the Red River. And whenever speaking of Long Bien Bridge, people will remember about a famous bridge connecting the heroic history with the present and one of the symbols of an old and ancient Hanoi.
Today, Long Bien Bridge attracts many visitors both domestically and internationally to visit, admire as well as to learn about the Vietnamese ancient history. When visiting the bridge, visitors will have the opportunity to admire the romantic scenery of the Red River, watch the barge floating below or cycle peacefully along the bridge.
Especially, the sunrise and sunset are two ideal times to see the beautiful natural scenery from the bridge. Tourists cannot resist the urge to praise the panoramic view of Hanoi capital from Long Bien Bridge. Besides, visitors can also travel back in time through the rusted steel frame and many places were bombed by US troops on the bridge in the resistance war.
In addition, alongside Long Bien Bridge, there is a large, green landscape familiarly known as “the rocks of the Red River”. It is a popular place for the Hanoi locals and tourists to take pictures and enjoy the fresh air. In the afternoon, visitors can visit the flea market near the bridge to buy green vegetables, fresh fruit and fast food.
When walking along the Long Bien Bridge at night, tourists will easily find local people walking and exercising, couples dating on the bridge or love locks left by them on the bridge railing. At the same time, visitors also feel the cool breeze from the Red River coming to blow away the sorrows in life. If paying a visit to Hanoi in the winter, the Long Bien Bridge is also an ideal place to enjoy delicious roasted corn and potato dishes right on the bridge.
A visit to Long Bien Bridge – one of the most famous and memorable bridges of Hanoi capital – promises to provide tourists with the knowledge of the heroic past as well as makes their trip to Hanoi become more fascinating and unforgettable.