Bridging the times

By Ngoc Thang - Nguyen Tuan, Thanh Nien News

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Long Bien Bridge, which was built over a hundred years ago by the French, has gone through both war and peace -- several times each. Hanoians consider it a part of their local heritage. Local residents and experts have tried to protect the bridge against a recent plan by the transport ministry to build a stronger bridge to replace what many consider the icon of the national capital.

Long Bien Bridge in 1907. It was designed by Gustave Eiffel, who designed the Eiffel Tower, and was originally a railway track that helped connect northern Vietnam with China.

Long Bien Bridge in its original shape before being bombed by the US during the Vietnam War. It was the only bridge across the Red River at the time.

People walk on a road connected to the bridge.
The Long Bien Bridge of today. A part has lost its original shape due to destruction during the Vietnam War.

A board saying the bridge was constructed between 1899 and 1902.

Long Bien (afar) and Chuong Duong Bridge across the Red River near Hanoi.

The bridge was bombed ten times in 1965 and four times in 1972.

A train runs through the middle of the bridge.

Long Bien Bridge runs above a produce market and a ‘pottery road’ set up for Hanoi’s 1,000th birthday in 2010.

Long Bien is a bridge for both poor workers and tourists.

Women stop for a snack on the bridge.

A French family spends time on the bridge.

Long Bien is festooned during a festival commemorating it in October 2009.

The bridge carries a heavy workload as it connects downtown Hanoi with the capital’s outskirts.

A carp is released from Long Bien Bridge. Releasing carps and birds is done for many traditional festivals as a symbol of people giving freedom to nature.

Nguyen Thu Gia, 65, jogs on the bridge every morning and evening.

The bridge wears many “love locks."

Locals say they can’t imagine the bridge being replaced by another one.

Two foreigners enjoy views of Hanoi from the bridge.

A street food vendor on the bridge.

Coal-making families below the bridge.

Local resident Nguyen Thi Hoa, 51, has passed the bridge every day since she was born. “Every morning I wake up and it’s above my head, every night I hear train horns. I miss it like a family member anytime I’m away,” Hoa said.

Chuong Duong Bridge can be seen from Long Bien.

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