Long Bien Bridge: the silent guardian of Hanoi

By Hoang Hoang   July 8, 2016 | 09:00 pm GMT+7

Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Hanoi has Long Bien Bridge.

Proudly standing across the Red River for over a hundred years, Long Bien Bridge, for generations of Hanoians, has been an iconic feature of the capital. Seasons come and go, but the bridge is still there to witness the changes to a city that rose up from bombs and bullets.

Before I can remember, Long Bien Bridge has always solemnly been there. During my middle school years, we didn’t have classes every Thursday afternoon. My friends and I would sneak onto buses to the dike right on the edge of town, where we would get off and walk to Long Bien Bridge.

Climbing over of the safety barrier to the railroad in the middle of the bridge, gazing our naive eyes upon the rustic spans, we were embraced and covered in the shadow of the majestic metal beast. No one had lived long enough to tell us stories about the bridge, but we were born knowing that Long Bien Bridge has always been a symbol of Hanoi.

Designed by the eminent architect Gustave Eiffel, as you can guess, the designer of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York, Long Bien Bridge boast a unique shape that cannot be mistaken for other bridges. The giant metal structure is not just a bridge, but a charming piece of art that helps add to the mysterious charisma of Hanoi.

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The day Long Bien Bridge was opened.

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Long Bien Bridge in the past

Long Bien Bridge in the past

As the main transport link to Hanoi, Long Bien Bridge was heavily bombed throughout the Vietnam War. The bridge was torn apart from time to time, but just like the fearless Vietnamese spirit, it came back stronger and is still standing tall until today.

Long Bien Bridge after an air raid

Long Bien Bridge after an air raid.

Generations of people who used this bridge have bloomed and withered. The city tried to remove Long Bien Bridge in 2014 saying it does not meet the safety requirements for traffic, only to be met with heavy objection from the public. In a city that is developing at the speed of light, Long Bien Bridge is a rare piece of treasure from the past. The destruction of the bridge is simply a crime against the heroic history of Vietnam.

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