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VietNamNews

Protecting heritage a growing concern

Update: June, 12/2013 - 10:55
HA NOI (VNS)— Without timely intervention by local media and relevant authorities, the unprofessional restoration of the Tram Gian (100 Compartments) pagoda in Chuong My District, Ha Noi, last year would have damaged the 1000-year-old structure.

Heritage managers, scientists and researchers discussed such cases as well as more positive examples of restoration at an online workshop held yesterday in Ha Noi, HCM City and Da Nang.

The participants cited the Chu Quyen Communal House, a 400-year-old residence in Chu Minh Commune in the outlying district of Ba Vi, as a prime example of successful heritage conservation.

Ranked as a national cultural historical relic in 1962, the house was restored in the 2000s, with the workers focused on preserving the traditional wooden architecture. As a result, the project won the highest award for heritage conservation at the Conference of the Union of International Architects for Asia-Pacific in 2010.

"Relics that were properly taken care of by both the State and local authorities have greatly contributed to the patriotism education of the younger generation," vice minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Dang Thi Bich Lien told participants in the workshop. "They have also contributed to popularising national culture and heightening the status of Viet Nam and its people in foreigners'eyes."

Moreover, many relics have become attractive destinations for tourists – contributing to the State budget, as well as to the income of people working at heritage sites. Lien cited the Hue Imperial Citadel complex in Thua Thien-Hue Province and Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province as examples. Each year, the Hue heritage site brings in VND100 billion (US$4.7 million) while Ha Long Bay fetches some VND196 billion.

Viet Nam has around 40,000 relics and heritage sites, of which seven tangible heritages were honoured by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and 34 relics are recognised as national special relics.

"Among the relics that have been repaired, many are associated with religion, which further affirms the State's consistent policy on respecting religious freedom," Lien said.

The culture ministry and competent authorities have attempted to prevent the sites from being encroached on, she said, restoring and preserving relics through a number of projects under the National Project targeting culture works.

But she emphasized that it's ultimately up to people to respect their heritage, since small actions like discarding rubbish at sites have a major impact on their future. — VNS


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