|Road to preservation: A child runs along a road in the ancient village of Duong Lam. A workshop on Saturday discussed the preservation of the historic houses and how to get residents to co-operate. Old houses can't be expanded and renovations are strictly controlled. This has cause stress for families whose numbers have increased in small living areas. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Duc
HA NOI (VNS)— When local people benefited from heritage, they would be more willing to protect it, a workshop on Saturday in Ha Noi was told.
The event was held to discuss the preservation of fiveancient villages of Duong Lam Commune, 60km west of Ha Noi centre.
The houses, aged up to 400 years old, include the birthplaces of two kings, Phung Hung (761-802) and Ngo Quyen (896-944). The site was recognised by the ministry of culture as a national heritage site in 2005.
However, residents in the houses resent having to live in cramped and uncomfortable conditions under old roofs without compensation in order to preserve them.
Old houses can't be expanded and renovations are strictly controlled in order to retain the ancient look under Cultural Heritage Law. This has cause stress for families whose numbers have in- creased in small living areas.
The workshop was at-tended by the ministry, tour firms and consultants in heri-tage and architecture.
National Cultural Heritage Council vice chairman Dang Van Bai said a way to avoid
the conflict was to turn the houses into heritage tourism products that would benefit
"We cannot require people to do things, we must guide and support them in living with the heritage," Bai said.
Pham Hung Son, head of Duong Lam heritage manage ment board, suggested the ticket price be increased to VND20,000.
"Income from selling tickets is not enough," he said. "Last year we collected VND1.4 billion (US$66,000), which is so small to distribute to more than 400 households."
Nguyen Thu Hanh, chair-woman of the Scientific Union for Sustainable Tourism Development, suggested a merger with local agriculture tourism tours to enjoy in the fields and culinary events.
She said the union has already co-operated with residents to make souvenirs from straw and rice to sell.
"Instead of burning the straw after harvest, it can used to make souvenirs and build ecological houses in the fields for tourists," she said.
Son and other experts agreed with the project as 70 per cent of people in Duong Lam Commune were farmers and lived off agriculture.
Truong Minh Tien, deputy director of the Ha Noi Department of Culture, col-lected the ideas for a project to preserve Duong Lam his-toric houses for a report to be submitted to the capital's People's Committee and the culture ministry. — VNS