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Old Quarter relocation project aims to preserve historical relics

Update: October, 09/2013 - 14:00
Quan De Temple at 26 Hang Buom Street, an example of successful relocation to restore a historical relic. The site was restored in 2010. -- Photo phocohanoi

HA NOI (Biz Hub)– A project to relocate 1,530 households in Ha Noi's Old Quarter to Viet Hung Residential Area in Long Bien District will give special care and attention to 121 historic sites.

The neighbourhood is home to many ancient pagodas and temples. But since 1954, it has grown increasingly overcrowded, with new construction hindering efforts to restore the old buildings.

"Households encroaching on historic relics will be first on the list," said Pham Tuan Long, deputy head of the Old Quarter Management Board. "Then come households living next to or inside State agencies, schools and hospitals and volunteer families."

Architect Dao Ngoc Nghiem hoped agencies would restore the old atmosphere of the Old Quarter with handicrafts streets, festivals, ancient houses and temples. Luu Minh Tri, chairman of Thang Long Culture Heritage Association, agreed, saying the goal was to protect important tourism sites in the Old Quarter, which would then draw more tourists.

"When the original spaces of the old relics are returned, the relics then need to be restored," Tri said. "For example, Huyen Pagoda near Dong Xuan Market or 15 old sites for performing ca tru (ceremonial singing) throughout the Old Quarter."

The "Ancient House" at 51 Hang Bac Street and Quan De Temple at 28 Hang Buom Street are examples of successful relocation. However, it cost VND10 billion (US$440,000) to relocate the five households living inside the temple.

After the relocation finishes in 2016, the next phase of the project (2017-20) will involve moving another 5,000 households out of the Old Quarter to reduce the average number of inhabitants to 500 per ha. The population is currently 823 people per ha.- -VNS

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