The Long Bien Bridge is “a Hanoi icon in all senses,” says Rusty Compass. Formerly known as the Paul Doumer Bridge, it was “one of the greatest engineering accomplishments of the French colony and a showpiece of colonial infrastructure,” and later became “a symbol of Hanoi’s resistance to relentless US bombing” during the Vietnam War. The bridge’s complex 19-span, 20-column cantilever design was “immediately feted as a technological masterpiece,” says Historic Vietnam.
The bridge is remembered as “an icon of defiance” against the Americans, says Historic Vietnam. Its “strategic function” made the bridge a key target for US bombers during the American War. In 1965 they “unleashed their sustained aerial bombardment” known as Operation Rolling Thunder, and in 1966-1967 the bridge was “hit on no fewer than 10 occasions.” Running repairs “succeeded in keeping it open to rail traffic” for a while, but in August 1967 the central span was destroyed, “severing the vital rail link across the Red River.”
The bridge is now the centrepiece of a trendy arts precinct, reports Vietnam Net. The neighborhood around the bridge is being reconverted into “galleries, exhibition space, handicrafts shops and cafés,” -- something that could be “the Viaduc des Arts of Vietnam.” And if you have time, advises Maze Vietnam, “go for a walk to the fishing village nearby to immerse yourself in the peaceful country life of the Vietnamese while observing the Hanoi Ceramic road along Song Hong dyke.”