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[Photos] On the Sidewalks of 1979 Saigon: Books, Knick-Knacks and a Multitude of Bicycles

Before the motorbikes invaded all aspects of modern Vietnam, Saigon streets were all bicycles, vintage cars and xích lô.

At Saigoneer, we’ve amassed a collections of hundreds of Saigon Xưa photo archives over the years. Most of these are rare scans of film photos as personal mementos from tourists, foreign soldiers and even photojournalists. With the exception of professional photographers who came to the country with a specific story to seek, the rest took a “shoot whatever interests you” approach to photography.

Therefore, these image collages usually don’t encompass a clear direction, agenda or message: they’re purely a celebration of the city’s vivacious street life. In this particular set of shots, taken by an anonymous photographer, we get a chance to relive the years right after the country’s turmoil in 1975.

Did you know that Dang Thi Nhu Street — which currently houses a host of restaurants and fashion emporia — used to be a bustling book street? The pavement of Le Loi, now “besieged” by metro construction, doubled as a quirky makeshift bazaar for knick-knacks and knock-offs.

Find out more about our city through this set of photos, taken in 1975–1980, below:

A footwear shop on Dong Khoi Street.

Old cars and xích lô.

A wedding "carriage" on Le Duan Street.

A makeshift bazaar on the pavement of Le Loi.

A morning in Quach Thi Trang Square.

The Tran Hung Dao-Nguyen Thai Hoc intersection.

Traffic on Tran Hung Dao.

Looking toward central District 1 from Tran Hung Dao.

A view of Le Loi Street.

An advertisement for a music class.

School children working on craft projects in school.

A lunch lady working on a large batch of vegetable soup.

Left: a building bearing signage of SINCO, a sewing machine producer, at the corner of Tran Hung Dao and Calmette. Right: book vendors on Dang Thi Nhu Street.

Commercial kitchen inside a school.

Lunchtime banter.

View from the Caravelle Hotel.

An old Lambretta on the street.

A state-owned bus.

A street corner in Da Nang.

Street life in Saigon.

Browsing for books on Dang Thi Nhu.

The Saigon Opera House.

View from the Caravelle Hotel.

Dong Khoi Street.

A dining area inside Caravelle.

Dang Thi Nhu.

[Photos via Flickr user manhhai]


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