Travel - September 25, 2018 | 06:06 pm GMT+7

Witness to a century of change: Hanoi’s iconic structures 

Eleven architectural marvels that have defied time and stood amid the capital city’s makeover.

The Huc Bridge

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The Huc Bridge was built during the reign of King Tu Duc of the Nguyen dynasty in 1865. It leads to the Ngoc Son Temple in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake in downtown Hanoi.

The bridge is made up of 15 spans with round wooden logs arranged into 16 pairs. It was painted in red, and its name is gilded in gold.

The bridge has undergone two refurbishments since its construction, the first in 1897 and the second in 1952 after a span broke on Lunar New Year's Eve under a crush of visitors. Under the supervision of architect Nguyen Ba Lang, the foundations of the bridge are now cast in cement instead of wood.

Hanoi Opera House

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It is situated in Cach Mang Thang Tam Square at the end of Trang Tien Street in the central district of Hoan Kiem.

The Hanoi Opera House was built by French architects in 1911, a smaller replica of the Opéra Garnier House in Paris with materials appropriate for the local climate.

Hanoi Opera House has become one of the symbols of the city.

  Quan Chuong Gate

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Also called Dong Ha Gate, Quan Chuong Gate is located on the east side of the courthouse surrounding the Thang Long Citadel. It was built in 1749 and rebuilt in 1817. This is the only remaining gate of the Thang Long Citadel, now called Hanoi. Quan Chuong gate is on Quan Chuong Street at the beginning of Hang Chieu Street near the foot of the Chuong Duong Bridge.

  Headquarters of Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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The headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or the house of a hundred roofs, is situated at the junction of Dien Bien Phu and Ton That Dam streets.

It is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Hanoi. In the past the building was the headquarters of the Indochina Department of Finance, and from October 3, 1945, was the head office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It was designed by Ernest Hebrard in 1924, construction began in 1925, and it was ready for use in 1928.

  Hoa Phong Tower

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Hoa Phong Tower is located on Dinh Tien Hoang Street to the south of Hoan Kiem Lake. It is a remnant of Bao An Pagoda, a large pagoda built in 1842. In 1888 the French colonialists destroyed the pagoda to build the Hanoi post office.
The pagoda used to face Hoan Kiem lake with the Red River at its back. There used to be 36 houses inside the pagoda, but only Hoa Phong tower remains today. It has three stories. Its first floor has four doors, earning the tower the name "four-door tower", an architectural style common in Buddhist structures.

Long Bien Bridge

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The first steel bridge over the Red River was built by French architects between 1898 and 1902. Over the course of its history Long Bien Bridge has been damaged several times. It has become a historical site, a symbol of Hanoi.

The bridge has a rail track and two road lanes. All the construction materials - 30,000 cubic meters of stone and 5,300 tons of steel and blue stones - were brought from France.

At the beginning of the 20th century Long Bien was the longest and most beautiful steel bridge in Indochina, according to the National Archive.

Sofitel Metropole Hanoi Hotel

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The hotel is situated in the heart of Hanoi near Hoan Kiem Lake and the Hanoi Opera House. The hotel, in old French architectural style, was built in 1901 by two French investors. Sofitel Metropole Hanoi has always been considered the accommodation of choice for business people and tourists. The first five-star hotel in Hanoi, it has hosted many famous figures and international politicians throughout its history.
These days it is consistently voted as one of the leading hotels in Asia.

Quan Thanh Temple

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Quan Thanh Temple, also called Tran Vu Quan, was built during the reign of Ly Thai To (1010 - 1028). The temple venerates Huyen Thien Tran Vu, one of the four gods guarding the four gates of the Thang Long Citadel, Hanoi’s former avatar.

The temple is situated near West Lake, and together with Kim Lien Pagoda and Tran Quoc Pagoda creates harmonious landscape architecture for the area. Quan Thanh Temple is located on what is now Thanh Nien Street.

Dong Xuan Market

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This is one of the largest markets in Hanoi. During the reconstruction of the Thang Long Citadel in 1804, Nguyen Van Thanh, the president of the citadel under Nguyen Dynasty rule, decided to place Dong Xuan market at the city’s eastern gate. In 1890 the French government in Hanoi began to build the market with five-door arches and five houses measuring 52 meters in width and 19 meters in height. 

The market is situated in the old quarter and surrounded by Dong Xuan Street, Hang Khoai Street, Dong Dong Street, and Dong Xuan Market Alley. Today it is a famous shopping and tourist destination.

Hang Dau Water Tower

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The water tower is located at the crossroads of Hang Dau, Hang Than, Quan Thanh, Phan Dinh Phung, Hang Cot, and Hang Giay streets. It was built in 1894. The three-storied structure has a diameter of 19 meters and height of 25 meters. It has many small windows on its walls.

Inside the tower, the stone walls are evenly spaced like the spokes of the wheel with doors to go around. On these walls are water tanks made of metal. Each tower can hold 1,250 cubic meters of water. From here the water was transported to the city where the French colonial army was stationed and then to other towns. The tower has been abandoned since 1954 and become a tourist attraction. But visitors are not allowed to enter.

One Pillar Pagoda

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Located on Doi Can Street in the central district of Ba Dinh, Chua Mot Cot (One Pillar Pagoda) is a unique construction in Vietnam. The pagoda was built in 1049 during the reign of King Ly Thai Tong of the Ly Dynasty. The pagoda is perched atop its single pillar in a pond. It attracts not only Buddhists but also tourists.