Destroying legacy for restoration!

VietNamNet Bridge - In recent years, many localities have restored historical and cultural relics. However, many architectural and cultural works of the ancestors have been destroyed without mercy, because of the so-called restoration.

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New pillars of Va Temple, Hanoi.

Most recently, these elements of the ancient Tram Gian Temple in Hanoi were embellished. Earlier, the Ngu Nhue communal house, which was built in the 12th century in Hung Yen province and is classified by the State as the national architectural monument, was dismantled totally. A new temple was built at a different site, around 18m behind the former location.

Being recognized as a historical and architectural relic of the country but Tinh Quang communal house in Long Bien district, Hanoi, has been severely distorted by the restoration and embellishment. This communal house was built in the Le Dynasty to worship the three village gods: Ly By (King Ly Nam De), Dinh Dien (a meritorious official of the Dinh Dynasty) and Ly Chieu Hoang (the only female emperor in the history of Vietnam).

Located on a large area, Tinh Quang communal house has many valuable ancient architectures, which are highly appreciated by many researchers. In front of the house is a large lake that represents the desire for a harmonious life and prosperity of the people for many generations.

The funding for the restoration project of Tinh Quang communal house is about VND14 billion ($700,000). The project investor is the Long Bien District authorities and it is approved by the Hanoi People’s Committee, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Department of Cultural Heritage.

In the implementation process, the Long Bien District authorities filled up most of the lake of nearly 3,000 m2 to build a semicircular well of less than 200 m2.

Around 50 km west of Hanoi is Va temple, the most sacred place of Thanh Tan Vien Son mountain. The temple is located in a pristine forest, with about 420 ancient ironwood trees of 1,000 years old. The temple is surrounded by a 3m tall wall of laterite, making the temple a serious and intensive closed site. However, this ancient wall was destroyed to make way for vehicles carrying construction materials for the restoration and embellishment. Earlier, in 2009, this temple was rebuilt.

Duong Lam ancient village (national historic architectural work) is known for ancient laterite houses which have been existed for many generations. Here all paths are paved by inclined tiles to be harmony with the ancient and unique architectural space. Yet, right in the heart of the old village has appeared a concrete path connecting the Mong Phu temple to Mia pagoda, about 1 km in length.

The concrete road was built very quickly and local people had not been noticed in advance.

Son Tay ancient citadel is evaluated with special values, one of the rare intact citadels left from the Nguyen dynasty. It used to be a glorious fortress of the Nguyen Dynasty during the war of resistance against the French rule in the late nineteenth century and it has been recognized as a national historic architecture. The citadel was built with laterite, with many old trees and moss layers sticking on the walls, making the citadel’s ancient looks.

After several times of restoration, the citadel has been embellished. Today, we no longer see typical laterite walls of Son Tay citadel, but walls made of cement, iron and steel. Even the gate is newly built. Many ancient trees were chopped down. The relic no longer looks ancient.

"The Cultural Heritage Department has only a few dozen of people, how can it manage all heritage works? Meanwhile, the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is the general inspection agency. It does not have specialized inspectors because conservation is a very specific field, which requires high professionalism," said Prof. Luu Tran Tieu, chairman of the Vietnam Cultural Heritage.

Compiled by T. Van