A true masterpiece of French colonial engineering, the Long Bien Bridge (formerly Paul Doumer Bridge) can be seen for miles up and down the Red River. This marvellous piece of construction boasts some of the best sunrise and sunset experiences in the Vietnamese capital and was once regarded as one of the finest architectural structures on the planet. The Long Bien Bridge was built between 1889 and 1902 while the French still occupied Vietnam. The Indochina Governor General Paul Doumer self indulgently named the bridge after himself, however the Vietnamese have always preferred the title Long Hien. This bridge has always played a fundamental role in the everyday life of Hanoi and was originally used to expand the trade into northern territories of Vietnam.
Long Bien Bridge was designed by the Frenchman who is also accredited with the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel, before being turned into reality by more than 3000 Vietnamese labourers. At the time of its completion, it was one of Asia’s longest bridges and today, still remains as one of Hanoi’s predominant historical artefacts. This cantilever bridge has always remained a beloved landmark of the Vietnamese capital and is more than a mile in length.
One major reason why the Long Bien Bridge is so famous throughout the city of Hanoi is its talent for survival. During the war with the Americans, the US military bombed this bridge numerous times due to its strategic proximity to the port city of Haiphong. This bridge served as a major lifeline to the Vietnamese capital city, therefore any attempts to destroy it were quickly reconditioned. Assiduous repair teams worked especially hard throughout 1972 when the bridge was completely disabled by a US bombing raid. Thanks to these dedicated teams, vital supply lines were kept active during the war, however Long Bien Bridge remains a tapestry of war time scarring.
Nowadays this bridge is a popular Tourist Attraction and even local couples who have recently tied the knot will use this bridge as a setting for their wedding photographs. Visitors can enjoy the daily markets here and as it is less than a mile from the Hanoi Old Quarter, visiting couldn’t be easier.