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Mong Bridge, a “tempo giusto” of Saigon
Nguyen Vinh
Tuesday,  Apr 21, 2015,22:44 (GMT+7)

Mong Bridge, a “tempo giusto” of Saigon

Nguyen Vinh

By Nguyen Vinh - The Saigon Times Daily

A foreign visitor takes photos of the city from Mong Bridge

Connecting districts 1 and 4, Mong Bridge crossing Ben Nghe Canal in downtown HCMC is now opened for pedestrians to take a stroll, enjoy fresh air and cool breeze from the canal, and admire old and new buildings.

According to musicians, the bridge is like a “tempo giusto”, a timing rhythm for a crowded city like Saigon. Contrary to the noisy and busy atmosphere of the downtown, time seems to stop on the bridge, Ben Nghe canal and the area around.

Built in 1894, the bridge is 128 meters long and 5.2 meters wide. It was invested by Messageries maritimes, a French merchant shipping company, and built by Levallois Perret, a French construction company.

In 2005, the bridge was removed to make room for construction of the Saigon River Tunnel connecting districts 1 and 2. After that, the bridge was restored to its original state with significant reinforcement of the abutments at the two ends.

The parks on both banks of Ben Nghe Canal near the bridge have also been improved with more trees and flower plants.

Standing on Mong Bridge, tourists can see time changes, admire cultural and historical values, and have a view of a future Saigon.

Old and new buildings of Saigon are seen from Mong Bridge - PHOTOS: NGUYEN VINH

On the side of District 1 is Vo Van Kiet Boulevard on which the State Bank of Vietnam building, formerly called Banque de l’Indochine (Bank of Indochina) by the French, and French and Chinese-built houses are located.

Nearby are the modern buildings such as the Bitexco Financial Tower and Times Square while within a walking distance from the bridge is Nha Rong Wharf, a historical site on the Saigon River in District 4.

The bridge and the neighborhood have become a venue for local people to start a new day with morning exercises, book reading and fishing. When night falls, couples sit down together along the bridge, groups of young people gather for chatting, dancing, singing while the elderly go for a walk.

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