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Hoan Kiem District struggles to preserve Hanoi's Old Quarter area
Vu Le - Minh Van 05:18, 2020/10/08
Hoan Kiem People’s Committee, Centre for Thang Long Heritage Preservation and Hanoi Urban Planning and Development Association co-held a seminar in October 8 featuring Hanoi’s Old Quarter area preservation and development.

The seminar is aimed to celebrate a series of politic, social and cultural activities such as the 17th Congress of Hanoi’s Party, the 1010th anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi, the 66th anniversary of Hanoi Capital Liberation Day and the 25th anniversary of Hanoi’s Old Quarter area Management Board.

The seminar was held to celebrate the 1010th anniversary of Thang Long- Hanoi/ Photo: Vu Le

At the opening ceremony, Secretary of the Hoan Kiem Party Committee Duong Duc Tuan said that Hanoi’s Old Quarter area is a typical area bearing the imprint of the development process over the past 10 centuries of Thang Long - Hanoi. The value of heritage is shown in the economic - cultural - social harmony and the structure of urban space and valuable architectural works.

Over the past years, Hanoi’s Old Quarter area Management Board has made efforts in preservation and development the old quarter. However, there are still many challenges.

The seminar was held to receive opinions of experts and scientists in order to promote the conservation and promote the value of Hanoi Old Quarter.

At the seminar, the experts and the managers all said that all researches so far have affirmed that the important values of Hanoi’s Old Quarter area which identify urban cultural identity of Hanoi.

These values are not only relics, old houses with the special features of planning, construction, architecture and historical traces but also cultural values that exist inside each house, each family, each person through daily activities, culinary activities and festivals.

Mr. Pham Tuan Long Chairman of Hoan Kiem District People's Committee delivered the conclusion state of the conference/ Photo: Vu Le

Hanoi’s Old Quarter area contains a treasure of tangible values (121 relics including 83 historical and cultural relics, 30 revolutionary historical relics and 8 other relics; currently, 25 relics have been ranked national level) with a full range of religions and beliefs: communal houses, temples, pagodas, mosques and shrines as well as diverse intangible values, according to Tran Thi Thuy Lan, deputy-manager of the board.

Plus, daily life activities on the streets of the old quarter residents such as traditional art performances of ca tru (ceremonial singing); hat xam (blind busker singing) and traditional festivals Bach Ma temple festival, Yen Thai temple, mid-autumn, Kim Hoan festival which have made contribution to cultural-thousand year of Thang Long - Hanoi.

However, tangible heritage preservation in the old quarter is still limited due to the difficulty of site clearance, human resources and procedures to carry out investment projects, Lan said.

She also confirmed that the old quarter is really a high value tourism and cultural product attracting domestic and international tourists.

A corner of Hanoi's Ols Quarter area/ Photo: Dan Toan

But, Hanoi Department of Planning and Architecture’s director Nguyen Truc Anh said that these values are in danger of losing due to many subjective and objective reasons.

“We need to have efficient solutions to improve the quality of space and landscape architecture in Hanoi old quarter,” said Anh. “The restoration, preservation and development the old quarter are always difficult because it needs to ensure the harmony between preservation and development. This inevitably requires the presence and co-ordination of relevant sectors such as construction, architecture, culture, and tourism,” Anh said.

To preserve the heritage fund in the old quarter it is necessary to mobilize community resources and attach to the community, according to Associate Professor and Doctor Dang Van Bai, member of Vietnam National Heritage Council.

Many countries in the world have been successful to carry out this model, according to Bai. In Vietnam, old streets preservation in Hoi An is good example.  Hoan Kiem district should set up community board which will support strongly for the Board of Old Quarter Management in preservation, according to Bai. He also suggested that a board of science consulting including scientists to assist the district People's Committee and Board of Old Quarter Management in doing old quarter area preservation. 

Chairman of Hoan Kiem People's Committee Pham Tuan Long concluded that the district needs to be paid strong attention from the party, the state, Hanoi city, social organizations and international organization as well to solve the issues in the old quarter preservation process. He also promises that Hoan Kiem district will focus on human resource to promote Hanoi’s Old Quarter area preservation helping the district to develop sustainably. 

TAG: Hanoi\'s Old Quarter area preservation 17th Congress of Hanoi’s Party the 1010th anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi the 66th anniversary of Hanoi Capital Liberation Day the 25th anniversary of Hanoi’s Old Quarter area Management Board.
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