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Nov 06, 2020 / 07:08

Ancient French architectural works worth being visited in Hanoi

The Hanoi Opera House, Long Bien Bridge, the Post Office, among others, are the special historical landmarks of Hanoi.

There are a number of beautiful ancient French architectural works in Hanoi that are worth a visit. Here is a list for you.

Hanoi Opera House

 Hanoi Opera House

The Hanoi Opera House (Trang Tien ward, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi) was built by the colonial French government between 1901 and 1911. It was designed by architects Harlay and Broyer. The building features elements of Southern France architecture which are evident in its arrangement of chambers, entrance and stairs. 

Over the years, it has been restored and repaired several times. It was the venue of the first meeting of the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The Hanoi Opera House is a unique structure with its outstanding values in terms of history, culture, architecture and art. It is the place for important political, cultural, musical, and artistic functions.

Presidential Palace

 The Presidential Palace

The Presidential Palace in Hanoi was built from 1900 to 1906, originally the Palace of the Governor of Indochina. Its design was commissioned to the French architect Auguste Henri Vildieu. It is a typical French style building, beautifully sited and proportioned with bright yellow exterior wall, red tiled roof, showing a unique romantic temperament. In 1945, when Vietnam regained independence, the building was renamed Presidential Palace. It is used mostly for national ceremonies or national receptions for diplomats and foreign leaders.

St Joseph’s Cathedral Hanoi

 St Joseph’s Cathedral

St Joseph’s Cathedral (Hang Trong ward, Hoan Kiem district) was erected in 1887 to the style of western churches. This House of God brings an ancient and peaceful beauty inside bustling Hanoi. The church has a length of 64.5m, a width of 20.5m and two bell towers of 31.5m high with massive stone pillars at four corners, together with a stone cross at the top. The interior fills with natural light from Gothic art doors and windows decorated with beautiful and harmonious stained-glass paintings. The church also owns a set of Western bells, including four small bells and a big bell, worth a massive fortune at that time. Especially a large clock attached to the facade of the church links to the five bells hanging on two towers. Wandering the Cathedral’s surroundings in the early winter or walking around at night, visitors seem to get lost in the classic and luxurious European space, strange but very familiar.

Building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' building

The main building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Dien Bien ward, Ba Dinh district) was formerly the Indochina Finance Department. Designed by French architect Ernest Hébrard, its construction started in 1925 and was completed in 1928. The place has become a historical part of Vietnam’s diplomacy. The work combined elements of Indochina indigenous style and those of French architecture. In 2016, it was recognized as a national relic.

Given its appearance, it is dubbed as the "House of One hundred roofs."  

Long Bien bridge

 Long Bien Bridge

Long Bien bridge was constructed from 1898 to 1902 by Daydé and Pille, a construction company. Measuring 2,290 meters, the bridge crosses the Red river in its narrowest section running through Hanoi. It includes 19 long steel girder spans placed on 20 high-profile pillars with unique architecture. It was also the largest bridge in Indochina at that time. The bridge was organized with railway in the middle, two sides for vehicles. Later, the sidewalks for pedestrians were added. Traffic in the bridge was organized for left-hand driving instead of right-hand driving like in the rest of the country.

Vietnam National Museum of History

 The Vietnam National Museum of History

The Vietnam National Museum of History (Phan Chu Trinh ward, Hoan Kiem district) was established on the basis of merging the National Museum of Vietnamese History and the National Museum of Vietnamese Revolution. The museum currently stores and preserves about 200,000 objects and materials of Vietnamese cultural history among which there are nearly 110,000 antiques and 19 national treasures from prehistory to 1945. There are rare and valuable collections representing the history and culture of Vietnam.

Hanoi National University 

 The Hanoi National University

The Hanoi National University (Phan Chu Trinh ward, Hoan Kiem district) was formerly Indochina University in 1926, designed by French architect Ernest Hébrard. Its Indochina-style combines with neoclassical European style were deemed suitable for the local tradition and climate.

Government Guest House

 The Government Guest House

The Government Guest House (No. 12 Ngo Quyen street, Trang Tien ward, Hoan Kiem district) used to be the Tonkin Palace in the colonial time. Built in 1918, it is a typical work of the French classical architectural style, combined with well-proportioned premises and facade.

Today, it is usually the venue for diplomatic and ceremonial events.

Hanoi Post Office 

 Hanoi Post Office

Hanoi Post Office (Trang Tien ward, Hoan Kiem district) is located by the Hoan Kiem lake and often referred to as Bo Ho Post Office. This is one of the first public buildings built by the French in Hanoi. This European classical-style work was designed by architect Auguste Henri Vildeu and built between 1894 and 1899. 

Hanoi Railway Station

 Hanoi Railway Station

Hanoi Railway Station is formerly known as Hang Co Railway Station. It was constructed from 1899 to 1902 by architects Boreil and Vildieu. It becomes a train transportation hub, connecting Hanoi, with Kunming city of Yunnan province in China via Lao Cai province and with Pingxiang town in Guangxi, China, via Lang Son province, besides Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City.

Photo: Duy Khanh (Kinh te & Do thi)