Urbanist Hanoi

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[Photos] Hanoi's Colonial Architecture in Postcards From 1916

The French aimed to remake Hanoi in Paris' image via elaborate architecture and infrastructure projects.

Spending a small fortune on imported building materials and significantly less on local laborers, the French made drastic changes to the aesthetics of the capital city. Wide avenues, massive bridges, towering villas, factors flaunting the newest technologies and carefully manicured parks were all built so as to make colonists more comfortable in Hanoi.

These photos from 1916 reflect how far drastically they transformed areas of the city. And while some of the edifices, such as the Cathedral, remain today, many others crumbled. The collection of images presents a seemingly idyllic view of Hanoi, but remember, while the French were planting trees to provide shade to the rickshaws moving on peaceful on its streets, the sewers were overflowing with rats and locals were suffering under the yoke of imperialism.

Have a look below: 

[Photos via Flickr user manhhai]