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[Photos] Early 1980s Hanoi on the Brink of Doi Moi

The early 1980s were a complicated time for Vietnam. Still reeling from the end of a war within the country – not to mention border conflicts with Cambodia and China in the later 1970s – Vietnam was just beginning to find its footing in an era of peace.

Between 1980 and 1983, British diplomat John Ramsden worked in his country’s Hanoian embassy. A casual photographer, Ramsden captured the capital just before Doi Moi. Though many Hanoians remained poor and struggled through the early 1980s, Ramsden’s photographs – and the images of a handful of other photographers, featured on VnExpress – capture the hope and optimism of the capital’s residents during that time, in addition to a much quieter version of Hanoi.

Take a look below:

Photo by John Ramsden.

Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake's red bridge. Photo by John Ramsden.

The crush of foot traffic on Hang Ngang Street in the Old Quarter. Photo by John Ramsden.

A view of Hoan Kiem Lake. Photo by TTXVN.

Kids grab a seat on the back of a streetcar (left); a family bicycle ride (right). Photos by John Ramsden.

To Tich Street, famous for woodworking. Photo by John Ramsden.

The facade of Hanoi Commercial Company, now the location of Trang Tien Plaza. Photo by TTXVN.

Hanoi's 1980s version of a busy street. Photo by John Ramsden. 

Trees and people on Ngo Gach Street. Photo by John Ramsden.

Soldiers march in the direction of Hanoi's Opera House in a 1985 celebration. Photo by Philip Jones Griffiths.

[Photos via VnExpress]

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