Saigoneer

[Slideshow] 14 Old Pictures of Taxis in Saigon

In Saigon, taxis have long played an important role in getting people where they need to go. They first took the form of rickshaws and then cyclos before giving way to the 4-wheeled motorized variety (though cyclos still serve their original purpose to some extent).

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The Story of Saigon's Last Citadel

You’ve probably passed the pair of colonial buildings at intersection of Dien Tien Hoang and Le Duan hundreds of times. What you may not be aware of, however, is that these two buildings are the last physical remnants of Saigon’s royal citadels.

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[Video] Saigon Street Scenes (1940-1950)

This is one of the harder old Saigon videos to make sense of since it’s a compilation of clips filmed between 1940 and 1950, starkly different times in the country's history (World War 2 will do that). 

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[Slideshow] 14 Images of Saigon in 1895

By 1895, Saigon had been occupied by the French for 36 years. When looking at photos from this period, it’s clear that the French placed great value on urbanizing the sleepy fishing outpost, formerly known as Gia Dinh.

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The Long Biên Bridge – “A Misshapen But Essential Component of Hà Nội’s Heritage”

Described by one writer as “a misshapen but essential component of Hà Nội’s heritage,” the Long Biên Bridge has clearly seen better days, but still commands such affection that recent government proposals to relocate or rebuild it had to be abandoned. Việt Nam railway historian Tim Doling revisits the turbulent history of this Hà Nội icon.

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10 Old Pictures of Cars in Saigon

Though cars have been present in the country since the turn of the 20th century, decades of war (1941 – 1975) and an economic stagnation (1975 – 1986) drastically reduced the number of automobiles in Vietnam. One will sometimes see an old Ford Mustang or VW Bug around town but they are very rare and sometimes imported. 

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The Saigon Monorail That Could Have Been (1966)

Saigon has been without an urban railway since the last streetcars were removed from its streets in 1957. With explosive population growth over the past 20 years, city planners commissioned a US$154 billion rail system, parts of which are already under construction. But you may be surprised to learn that 50 years ago, there was a plan to build a monorail system through the heart of Saigon.

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The “Rainbow Bridge”: A True Eiffel Classic in the Heart of Saigon

Many people will be familiar with the spurious claims that French civil engineer and architect Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923) was responsible for two of Việt Nam’s most iconic buildings, the Long Biên Bridge (Pont Doumer) in Hà Nội and the Central Post Office in Hồ Chí Minh City. The prevalence of such claims makes it all the more strange that so few visitors to Hồ Chí Minh City are given the chance to visit the Pont des Messageries maritimes, which in truth is Eiffel’s only major surviving work in Việt Nam.

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Nguyen Hue Street (1871)

Nguyen Hue Street, one of Saigon’s oldest thoroughfares, has undergone numerous transformations over its history. With the craziness of the holidays and accompanying sea of motorbikes, it's hard to imagine Saigon as a sleepy colonial backwater. But this image of Nguyen Hue Street, taken around 1871, less than 10 years after the French formally occupied the city, paints the 'city' as a calm and sparsely populated area. 

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The History of Saigon's Streetcars

We’ve posted images of Saigon’s old streetcars in the past but were unable to find much information written about them. Thankfully, Saigon historian, Tim Doling, recently published a piece about their history on his blog, Historic Vietnam.

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Massive Old Map of Saigon (1968)

Since most of the old maps we dig up are limited in scope, focusing on the city center, we were excited to come across this comprehensive map of Saigon from 1968.

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