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Mountain town celebrates 110th birthday

Update: November, 02/2013 - 08:54
Sa Pa's terraced rice fields, which made the 2009 list of the world's Top 7 Most Beautiful Terraced Fields in the US-based magazine Travel&Leisure, will be given the title "National Attraction". — VNA/VNS Photo Pham Hau

LAO CAI  (VNS) — The famous town of Sa Pa in Lao Cai Province is celebrating its 110th birthday with various cultural activities.

Famous for its stunning mountainous landscape and unique ethnic culture, Sa Pa attracts thousands of tourists every year. The cool climate and magnificent green vistas first attracted the attention of French colonisers in the first years of the 20th century.

In following decades, hundreds of French-style villas were built in the area.

Aiming to turn this town into a "summer capital", the French even built a railway route linking Ha Noi and Lao Cai. However, Sa Pa and its French-style buildings were seriously damaged in the wars against France and the United States. In 1990s, thanks to several State rebuilding plans, the town was revived to become one of the most famous tourist attractions in Viet Nam.

Sa Pa Noi Gap Go Dat Troi (Sa Pa, Where Land Meets Sky), an open-air exhibition in Sa Pa, displays 110 photos of the town and landscape.

While some photos portray the town as a "Sleeping Beauty" covered in the veil of early morning mist, it is covered in drifting clouds in some others. In winter, the town is at its most breathtaking, covered in a coat of snow.

The photographers share their stories about each photo, telling viewers about the difficulties they experienced to capture these moments on film.

Another exhibition showcasing photos, objects and documents relating to the town's history and development also opened in Lao Cai City.

The celebration officially kicked off yesterday with a street carnival gathering 500 artists and local ethnic people, followed by a nighttime art performance at Sa Pa's central square.

A ceremony today will honour the "Sa Pa Terraced Rice Fields", listed in 2009 as one of the world's Top 7 Most Beautiful Terraced Fields by the US-based magazine Travel&Leisure. At the event, the field will be given the title "National Attraction".

The town's O Quy Ho Mountain Pass will be given the "Viet Nam's Longest Mountain Pass" certificate by the Viet Nam records book VietKings. The pass was previously recognised as one of Viet Nam's 10 most beautiful attractions by travel blog Global Grasshopper.

An international workshop on Mountainous Ethnic Cultural Heritage Conservation with Sustainable Tourism Development is also on the agenda.

Other activities during the three-day celebration include a groundbreaking ceremony for the Fansipan Tourism and Entertainment Complex, a programme for tourists to discover the culture of ethnic groups living in Sa Pa and a fireworks performance.

A cultural exchange programme will highlight the traditional culture of those ethnic groups, which include Mong Den, Mong Hoa, Dao Do, Tay and Giay.

Mountain dew: Picturesque Sa Pa town is an endless inspiration for photographers. An open-air exhibition entitled Sa Pa Noi Gap Go Dat Troi (Sa Pa, Where Land Meets Sky) displays 110 photos of the town and landscape. — Photo xomnhiepanh.com

Lao Cai's director of Culture, Sports and Tourism Tran Huu Son said infrastructure in the famous town had been upgraded to prepare for the celebration, such as the central square where most of the events will take place.

To create a positive impression for tourists, the Sa Pa Tourism Association called on every hotel and accommodation service supplier not to increase room rates and to publicise service prices. Given the huge number of tourists flocking to the town during the celebration, households in the town centre and near regional attractions were encouraged to offer accommodations.

While local youth volunteers will offer necessary information to tourists, a joint force of policemen and military soldiers will take care of security and controlling traffic during the celebration. All vehicle parking lots have been relocated outside the town to keep the streets clear for celebratory activities. — VNS



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