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The third-largest city in the country after Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Haiphong is the north’s most important port. Its strategic location made it the target of foreign invaders over the years. It also faced heavy  bombing during the First Indo- china War, and later, in  the war against the US. Having survived its violent past, Haiphong today is a leading  industri al metro polis, specializ- ing in cement manu facture, oil  refi ning, and coal transportation. Haiphong draws few tourists, even though the atmosphere is relaxed, and the food and accommodation good. The most attractive and noteworthy sights of this city are the beautiful French-Colonial buildings. These include a 19th-century cathedral by Tam Bac River, the Opera House on Quang Trung Street, and the Haiphong Museum, the Gothic façade of which is more remarkable than the exhibits inside. Situated some distance away from the town center, the 17th-century Du Hang Pagoda, on Chua Hang Street, is known for its elaborate architecture, while Dinh Hang Kenh, on Nguyen Cong Tru Street, is a fine old communal house.

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