Once a symbol of French intentions towards Vietnam, during the war Hanoi’s principal temple of Catholic worship became a safe haven for those escaping American bombing. Words by Bennett Murray. Photos by Theo Lowenstein

Quietly sat next to Taka Plaza, the Hindu temple has played witness to the vast changes experienced by Saigon. Words by Vu Ha Kim Vy. Photos by Bao Zoan

Once home to the city prison, the site that is now the General Sciences Library hosts one of the most striking buildings of its era. Words by Matt Cowan. Photos by Bao Zoan

To tap her memory, Jesse Meadows speaks to Madame Nhung, the longest-running staff member in Vietnam’s most classic, colonial-era hotel. Photos by Julie Vola

The gateway to West Lake, from a certain John McCain through to pagodasand street food, Thanh Nien and Truc Bach Lake next door have a fascinating past. Words by Edward Dalton. Photos by Julie Vola

Bui Vien in Ho Chi Minh City was not always the travellers' hangout it is today. Zoe Osborne speaks to three people who remember the road as it once was. Photos by Bao Zoan

Vietnam is abundant with history — 4,000 years’ worth. Yet, with the transformation of this country from sleepy, upstart backwater to modern middle-income economy, much of the recent past is being lost. As Thomas Jefferson once said: “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” He wasn’t referring to Vietnam, but he might well have been.

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