Old documents about Hanoi’s iconic bridge unveiled hinh anh 1A photo on display at the exhibition.
(Photo courtesy of the National Archives Centre 1)
Hanoi (VNA) - A collection of old documents related to Hanoi’s iconic Long Bien Bridge has been unveiled to the public for the first time.

More than 100 documents, including sketches and images of the bridge that were taken from 1898 to 1975, are on display at an on-going exhibition at the National Archives Centre 1 in Hanoi.

Entitled Cau Long Bien Nhan Chung Lich Su (Long Bien Bridge – The Eyewitness of History), the exhibition, has been co-organised by the National Archives Centre 1 and the École française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO or the French School of Asian Studies) to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the iconic bridge.

The documents and images show details how the bridge was built, expanded and renovated. The life of people living in a Red River mudflats under the bridge also were depicted in several images.

Among the documents and images are on display, some are on loan from the French Overseas National Archives (ANOM).

The objects include a construction bidding registration approved by the French Governor-General of Indochina, Paul Doumer. The drawings of the bridge’s façade and longitudinal section by the French contractor Daydé & Pillé Company are also on display.

Visitors can enjoy the exhibition which has been set up following three major contents: The Bridge Was Built from a Crazy Idea, By the Long Bien Bridge, and Memory of the Long Bien Bridge.

Alongside the old documents and images, the exhibition was also enriched by photographs that were taken by Vietnamese and foreign photographers.

To create a lively and diversified displaying space, the organisers also set up a small model of the Long Bien Bridge as the background for anyone who are interested in photography. Alongside, junior visitors can present their art ability by drawing paintings at a creative corner.

Visiting the exhibition, French Ambassador to Vietnam Nicolas Warnery said that the landmark bridge is a construction that symbols for the relationship of the two countries.

“It also conveys the common memories of Vietnam-France history,” he said. “Therefore, the organisation of this exhibition is to present comprehensively to the public the image of Long Bien Bridge throughout the length of history.”

Old documents about Hanoi’s iconic bridge unveiled hinh anh 2French Ambassador to Vietnam Nicolas Warnery speaks at the event. (Photo: Vietnam Plus)
On September 13, 1889, Governor-General Doumer held a ground-breaking ceremony for a bridge crossing the Hong (Red) River. The bridge was designed in the style of the keys that the contractor Daydé & Pillé Company applied for the first time to Tolbiac Bridge in Paris. It has a length of 1,862m, consisting of 19 steel beams and a stone path. There is a single railroad track for trains in the middle and both sides have pathways for motorised vehicles and pedestrians.

The construction of the first steel bridge in Vietnam was the fourth-largest and the second-longest of its kind in the world at the time, after the Brooklyn Bridge in the US.

The bridge was officially inaugurated on February 28, 1902, after nearly three years and nine months of construction, and was named after Paul Doumer, the French Governor-General of Indochina. It was renamed Long Bien following Vietnam gained independence in 1945. 

The construction of the first steel bridge in Vietnam took the efforts of thousands of Vietnamese workers under the guidance of French experts. In addition to tonnes of limestone transported from Thua Thien-Hue, 30,000 cubic metres of stone and ironwood blocks were brought from Thanh Hoa and tonnes of cement from Hai Phong.

Vietnamese workers also created tens of thousands of rivets needed for the bridge and dived deep into the river to construct its abutment, 30m below the water surface.

The exhibition Long Bien Bridge – The Eyewitness of History opens until mid-June of 2023./.