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Tourists' fire destroys precious Muong house

Update: October, 28/2013 - 08:23

In ruins: Tourist negligence has led to the destruction of Lang House - a century-old building on stilts. — Photo thethaovanhoa.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — Tourist negligence has led to the fire and destruction of a century-old house on stilts, the last of its kind of the Muong ethnic people in the northern Hoa Binh Province.

Local media reported that the house had caught fire and became engulfed in flames on Thursday evening after a group of tourists built a fire inside the house to cook corn without asking for permission. Following the incident they sped away hitting the three guards who tried to stop their car.

No injuries were caused by the fire.

The aftermath of the fire and the tourists' careless, irresponsible behaviour has sparked public concern and outrage.

Investigation into the incident is underway.

Lang House is a 100 year old timber frame and thatched roof house rooted in the culture of the Muong ethnic minority people. The house had been preserved for generation after generation by a local family in Tan Lac District until it was moved to the Muong Cultural Space Museum in Hoa Binh City for preservation.

Cultural bastion: The Lang House is shown before the fire.— Photo baomoi.com

The fire consumed most of the house with the exception of its timber framing and over 200 treasured artefacts including gongs, bronzes, pottery and bamboo and rattan furniture.

"I'm extremely shocked and couldn't speak much at the very moment," Vu Duc Hieu, the museum's owner, told The Thao & Van Hoa (Sport & Culture) newspaper after hearing about the fire.

"The Lang house and its beloved relics are not just precious assets of the museum, it is something that received the attention of those interested in Muong culture for many years," he said.

"Everything is gone due to the inattention and inappropriate behaviour of some individuals."

The Muong Cultural Space Museum is the first private museum in the northern province of Hoa Binh and the only museum in Viet Nam devoted to ethnic Muong culture. The owner Hieu won the Phan Chau Trinh Award early this year for his contributions to promoting the preservation of Muong culture in Viet Nam. — VNS

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