Viet Nam News
by Bồ Xuân Hiệp
CẦN THƠ — French and Vietnamese experts met recently in Cần Thơ to discuss how to better preserve the cultural heritage of Việt Nam, particularly in the central province of Thừa Thiên–Huế.
Nguyễn Dung, vice chairman of the province’s People’s Committee, said that preservation and restoration of cultural heritage plays a critical role in improving tourism to the central province of Thừa Thiên–Huế.
However, time and urbanisation have seriously affected heritage buildings in the province as well as in Hà Nội and HCM City, he said.
Established as the capital of a unified Việt Nam in 1802, Huế was the political, cultural and religious centre under the Nguyễn Dynasty until 1945. Many of its palaces and pagodas remain, although some were bombed in the American War.
Dung spoke at a symposium that was part of the 10th Việt Nam–France cooperation conference held last week, attended by hundreds of experts from Nimes, France and Việt Nam, which focused on preservation of the Huế monuments.
Cao Chí Hải, deputy director of the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that the public needed to be more aware of the importance of preservation of cultural heritage and its influence on tourism and the economy.
Representatives from the Interdepartmental Syndicate for Sanitation of Greater Paris are helping to upgrade the water drainage system in Huế.
France and Việt Nam are also developing ecotourism and heritage preservation projects in the province’s Bạch Mã National Park.
France has also provided Hà Nội and HCM City with assistance in upgrading old apartment buildings.
Experts at the symposium said the complex of Huế monuments was in dire need of preservation and management by the Government.
The Huế Monuments Conservation Centre, which is overseen by the province, is responsible for the management and protection of the complex’s outstanding universal value, according to the UNESCO website.
The centre is guided by the 1972 Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the National Heritage Law (revised in 2009), and a number of other provincial regulations and decisions, according to the website.
With more than 700 employees from various professional backgrounds, the centre deals with all issues, including zoning, research, tangible and intangible heritage preservation, traditional material reproduction, and visitor management.
The centre is also responsible for planning and protection of the landscape in the buffer zone and in the surrounding area.
The province will provide direction for conservation and restoration of the complex through 2020.
Its master plan focuses on minimising the negative impact of noise and visual pollution on the Minh Mạng and Khải Định tombs. Any illegally constructed buildings within the site will be removed.
Climate change and natural disasters are other problems facing the long-term management of the property.
The water network and drainage system in and around the citadel will be upgraded to lower the risk of floods at the World Heritage property, and to reconstitute the historic network of ponds and canals.
In a related issue, an international workshop was held recently in Thừa Thiên Huế Province to seek measures to promote cultural heritage values during the Nguyễn Dynasty (1802-1945).
The event attracted more than 200 representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Việt Nam Cultural Heritage Association, Việt Nam History of Science Association, Việt Nam National Museum of History, and representatives from South Korea, Japan, France and Germany.
The workshop focused on UNESCO-recognised heritage sites from Việt Nam’s last dynasty.
They include the Complex of Huế Monuments; nhã nhạc, Huế Royal Court music, recognised as intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2003; the Nguyễn Dynasty’s woodblocks, recognised as world documentary heritage in 2014; and literature and poetry on Huế royal architecture, recognised as world documentary heritage this year. — VNS