If somebody asked you which bridge in Vietnam is worth visiting the most, do not hesitate to say it is Long Bien Bridge. Although it is not as glorious and shiny as some bridges in Vietnam such as My Thuan in Vinh Long or the one over the Han River in Da Nang, Long Bien strongly impresses people with its historical significance and classic beauty.
Located in the capital city of Hanoi, Long Bien Bridge, also known as Doumer before the independence of North Vietnam in 1954, was built across the Red River connecting Hoan Kiem with Long Bien district in 1899-1902 by the architects Daydé & Pillé of Paris. It was constructed during the French colonial period and underwent hard a wartime in the past.
At 2,290m in length and with 19 bridge spans, from distance it resembles a dragon flying across the Red River. Besides being is used for motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians, it also has a railway system for trains. The steel architecture and sophisticated techniques altogether make it unique in the eyes of the people. It was said to be the first bridge across the Red River and one of the most elite constructions in Hanoi at that time.
For many people, Long Bien Bridge is more likely to be associated with what happened to it during the war. Honestly, it is such a gross oversight not to mention the pain that many Vietnamese people mistreated by French masters during the construction of the bridge. This results in thousands of deaths of the Vietnamese people. Moreover, it was also a painful period that the bridge suffered times of heavy bombardment caused by one of the mightiest enemy, the American army. As a result, many sections of the bridge were severely damaged or torn down. It can be said that there is no such a bridge that had so much pain as Long Bien Bridge did.
Long Bien Bridge now is over 100 years old and has almost undergone three-century-long period. Through the ups and downs of the history, it is still considered the finest bridge in Hanoi. Long Bien Bridge is known for its classic beauty; therefore, it is understandable that the bridge is a popular destination for many people of all ages. Standing on the bridge, people are expected to have poetic and romantic views of the capital city, some fishing villages, Chuong Duong Bridge, and especially the vast water body of the Red River. The ideal time to visit the bridge is probably sunrise or sunset. It is commonly known that many young people often go to Long Bien Bridge for their dating. The bridge nowadays is somehow like the Pont des Arts in Paris, a symbol of undying love, where couples often write their name on the padlock and then lock it onto the bridge.
It is a fact that Long Bien Bridge has been an infinite inspiration to a number of artists, songwriters, poets, and photographers. They can praise it for the sacrifice during the wartime in the past, or its classic beauty at present days. The image of the bridge appears almost in every aspect of life, from the history to the art. Therefore, when it comes to Long Bien Bridge there is somehow a symbolic meaning, that is, Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. If you want to have a look at the painting works of Long Bien Bridge at some art galleries or art exhibitions, it is worth taking a tour around Hanoi. There will be pretty much for you to discover in the capital city then.
by Huyen Nguyen