Do you know why people call our main capital as “Hanoi”? This name means a city of lakes, ponds, bridges and rivers. While the Red Bridge (The Huc Bridge) and Hoan Kiem Lake owing its special green water are the symbols of a charming and elegant old Hanoi city, Long Bien Bridge and Red River are considered as the symbols of a full courageous capital during war years.
The Long Bien Bridge was built during the occupation of our country of French 1989 – 1902. In spite of the French design, the Long Bien Bridge was directly constructed by workers of Vietnam especially the materials for building are the indigenous objects like woods of Yen Bai, Phu Tho and Thanh Hoa provinces; the Long Tho lime of Hue and cement of Hai Phong.
Formerly, the name of this bridge was Paul Doumer in the French language but over a long time, Vietnamese has still called it Cai River and Long Bien Bridge (its most popular name is Long Bien bridge). With 19 spans, the Long Bien Bridge was the first one made from steel across the Hanoi city’s Red River which was also one of 4 biggest bridges all over the world at its building time.
As I said easier, Vietnamese considers this Long Bien as the architectural Far East’s symbol and pride. What is more, it also plays an important role in Vietnamese transportation that means it is the connection point for transporting the rice tons from the Vietnamese Northern Central area to the Dien Bien Phu battle. Especially in 1954, it also contributed into the Vietnamese army against French’s win.
During over 100 years of war decades, specifically in 1967, American army performed a large number of air attacks into Long Bien Bridge by bombing so there are more or less its destroyed spans. However, the result is that its left spans still remain up until now in order to remind people about an unforgettable past period. In a word, this bridge is both the great architecture, a traffic construction and a living historical relic.
The Long Bien Bridge was finished within five years from 1898 – 2/1902 when it is utilized in the first time. The reality is thanks to 2 architects: Daydé & Pillé of Paris and 3000 local workers in Vietnam, this cantilever bridge design can be across the Red river. Even during the process of building, some of workers were died when diving in the water for starting the hammer and base in bolts and nuts.
Its length is 2.4km so it is also easy for you to understand why it is one of the Asian longest bridges at that time. From the lowest level of water, it has the total of twenty 13.5 m tall cylinder legs. Its highlight is unlike the roads on other normal place in Vietnam, the left side of bridge is utilized rather than the right side.
To cross the Red river in Hanoi, there are 5 bridge options for you. The Long Bien Bridge is one of them even it is also the most special design with architecture, cultural and historic value. At this place, you are able to take a walk even enjoy the great mouthwatering desserts of vendors. On the bridge, there is also a small market in the afternoon for the dinners of Hanoians where offers the fresh fish and vegetable.
According to the Hanoians and visitors, it is the best place for looking at both sunset and sunrise, taking picture of alluvial patch that means a lot of grooms and brides select Long Bien Bridge as their ideal background for their whole wedding albums. Nowadays, the Long Bien Bridge still allows some kinds of vehicles for using such as mopeds, pedestrians, bicycles and train without the heavy means for preventing damaging to this ancient bridge.
How to get here
You are able to rent a bike or walk from the Hanoi center. It just takes Hanoi Old Quarter about 1km. In the event of moving in the Long Bien Bridge, you should remember to go on the left side.