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US helps renovate 300-year-old house

Update: August, 14/2014 - 09:34
The US embassy has given US$40,000 to authorities in the northern province of Vinh Phuc to enable them to restore a traditional dinh (communal house) built nearly 300 years ago.— Photos vinhphuc.gov.vn

VINH PHUC (VNS) — The US embassy has given US$40,000 to authorities in the northern province of Vinh Phuc to enable them to restore a traditional dinh (communal house) built nearly 300 years ago.

The restoration project will help fix the severely degraded old structure in Cam Gia Village, in An Tuong Commune, Vinh Tuong District.

The communal house, built in 1811, has eight compartments, with an altar located in a private space to worship the village's two guiding spirits: Cao Son, the spirit of the mountains, and Quy Minh, the spirit of the land and water. Both are said to be descendants of Lac Long Quan and Au Co, the founders of ancient Viet Nam.

The communal house, built in 1811.

In and around the dinh there are many patterns carved in timber. They represent the transitional period between architectural styles of the Later Le dynasty (1533-1789) to the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945). Over time, many of the pillars have been eaten by termites, affecting the carved patterns.

According to Nguyen Thi Nhung, vice chair person of Vinh Tuong District's People's Committee, the restoration project needs a total budget of VND3 billion ($142,800).

She said the locality would soon complete the restoration draft plan and submit it to provincial leaders and the culture ministry. The locality will also mobilise other sponsors and local support so that the project can begin in November and be finished by September 2015.

At the same granting ceremony held at Cam Gia Village, Duong Thi Tuyen, vice chairperson of Vinh Phuc Provincial People's Committee, guaranteed that the province would carry out the project in accordance with heritage laws and international practices.

This was necessary because so much restoration work in Viet Nam has been botched in recent years by people who did not know what they were doing. — VNS

The Ambassador's Fund was established by the US Department of State in 2001 to help less developed countries preserve cultural heritage and to demonstrate US respect for other cultures.

The fund has backed more than 800 cultural preservation projects in 120 countries world-wide, totalling $46 million, including 13 in Viet Nam. — VNS

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