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Great wall of Viet Nam

Update: February, 26/2011 - 09:54
Pristine preservation: A corner of an undamaged part of the wall. — VNS Photo Phu Duc

Pristine preservation: A corner of an undamaged part of the wall. — VNS Photo Phu Duc

QUANG NGAI — The head of Quang Ngai Province's People's Committee has sent an official dispatch to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asking the ministry to invite ambassadors of European countries to visit Truong Luy Heritage in his province.

Nguyen Xuan Hue said he wanted to introduce the special heritage that the US-based international TV network CNN calls Viet Nam's Great Wall.

The site is one of the country's most important archaeological discoveries in a century, after five years of exploration and excavation conducted by foreign and local archaeologists at the Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Archaeology.

The site was constructed carefully between 17th and 19th centuries with many materials and structures.

The 130-km-long bastion stretches for 111km in the province.

The rampart covers nine districts, Tra Bong, Son Tinh, Son Ha, Tu Nghia, Minh Long, Nghia Hanh, Ba To and Duc Pho, and to Binh Dinh Province's Hoai Nhon and An Lao districts.

The wall is built of alternating sections of stone and earth, with some sections reaching a height of up to 4m.

Professor Phan Huy Le, president of the Viet Nam Association of Historians, said: "This is the longest monument in Southeast Asia."

In 2009, scientists from the Ha Noi branch Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient (French School of Asian Studies) began to unearth the wall's section in Nghia Hanh District.

Last year, the archaeological study was conducted in Hanh Dung Commune.

Archaeologists said that this was an important historic site. Besides the military purpose, the wall was used as a trading checkpoint between mountainous and delta regions.

The wall was the greatest engineering feat of the Nguyen dynasty. Construction of the military site started in 1819 under the direction of Le Van Duyet, a high-ranking mandarin serving Emperor Gia Long.

Early this year, the province submitted an application to recognise the site as one of National Heritage and turn the wall into an international tourist attraction.

If approved, later the authorities will apply for UNESCO's world cultural heritage recognition.

Quang Ngai's Long Wall is not the province's only potential source of tourism. The area also boasts a lush, mountainous countryside, hot springs, an offshore volcanic island, coral reefs and miles of pristine beaches. — VNS

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