Eighties Hanoi: Photos tell story of life after death

By VnExpress   December 15, 2016 | 11:21 pm PT
You can really feel the gritty spirit of the city captured in these amazing shots.

Over the past 30-plus years, Hanoi has changed drastically. Here are some photos of the city's landmarks and important spots in the 1980s when Hanoi was at the beginning of a difficult period following the end of the war.


More than 30 years later, monochrome photos serve as a time capsule. Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of the city, compared to what it looks like today, has hardly changed. Photo by Vietnam News Agency


This photo of The Huc Bridge was taken by British diplomat John Ramsden who arrived in Hanoi in 1980 as part of the British Embassy's mission. During his three years in Hanoi, Ramsden frequently went for long walks around the city and rode his bicycle out of to the surrounding villages on the weekends. On such trips with his camera, he took more than 1,800 photos.  


A military parade to the city’s Opera Theater to celebrate Capital Liberation Day in April 1985. Photo by Philip Jones Griffiths


Hang Ngang Street was filled with pedestrians during holidays. Photo by John Ramsden


This photo of a propaganda billboard in the heart of the city center ahead of the fifth Communist Party Congress was taken in 1981 when Vietnam was struggling with an array of post-war challenges amid fierce clashes to protect the country's northern border. Photo by John Ramsden


Vietnam’s biggest state department store from 1960 to 1980. Photo by the Vietnam News Agency.


Dong Xuan Market. Photo by John Ramsden


Ly Thuong Kiet Street in the early 1980s with the University of Hanoi in the background. Photo by John Ramsden


A family on a Thong Nhat-trademark bicycle. Photo by John Ramsden


To Tich Street. Photo by John Ramsden


“It was a tough time and I really looked up to the people here. Despite all odds, they kept living on with dignity, courage and traditional values,” said Ramsden.


“We can feel the peace in life and the tranquility in people’s souls during this period,” Nguyen Quang Thieu, vice chairman of the Vietnamese Writers’ Association, commented on the moments captured in Ramsden’s photos. 

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