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UNESCO promises tight partnership with Hanoi in heritage and relic conservation
Son Nguyen 20:46, 2023/03/27
As home to nearly 300 national treasures, Hanoi has a valuable source of ritual and cultural traits that tell its history of thousands of years.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) sees the partnership with Hanoi in heritage preservation as one of its key activities in the future, said Director of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Center Lazare Eloundou on March 27.

Hanoi mayor Tran Sy Thanh (right) receives Lazare Eloundou, Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Center, on March 27. Photo: The Hanoi Times

The UNESCO expects to bolster the relationship with Vietnam’s capital city in preserving cultural traits and heritages, he told a meeting with Hanoi mayor Tran Sy Thanh.

Lazare urged the municipal and local authorities of Hanoi to come up with solutions that bring balance between heritage preservation and socio-economic growth and lift the living conditions for local people.

UNESCO will always partner with Vietnam to resolve challenges in tourism management and policy development to preserve and promote heritages, said the World Heritage Center director said.

He urged that the Hanoi authorities should call for the participation of individuals and organizations in heritage preservation to boost the status of local relics to the world.

In his part, Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Tran Sy Thanh said that heritage preservation is among the key targets that help nurture traditional values, maximize heritage values, and pass patriotism onto the next generations.

“Hopefully, the World Heritage Center and Hanoi will reach some agreements on future collaboration activities,” the mayor said.

Regarding the restoration of the Kinh Thien Palace and the whole area of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Thanh said that Hanoi requires ideas and opinions from professionals, especially experts from UNESCO and the World Heritage Center.

He said that the authorities of Hanoi will always support heritage preservation activities that are consented to between Hanoi and UNESCO.

National treasures

At the meeting, the World Heritage Center director Lazare said that Hanoi needs to take measures to promote the status of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel on a global scale so that everyone knows how important the relic is to the world culture.

An excavation site at the Thang Long Imperial Citadel relic in Hanoi. Photo: Lai Tan/The Hanoi Times

As home to nearly 300 national treasures, Hanoi have a valuable source of ritual and cultural traits that tell its history of thousands of years.

On January 30, 2023, the Government announced the list of 27 new national treasures. The list includes eight items that are safeguarded by organizations and individuals in Hanoi.

The preservation of heritage objects has become a critical issue for the authorities, organizations, and individuals that owns the full management of these items.

Among the said eight precious subjects, five of which are now secured at the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center.

The five objects are the Tran dynasty’s dragon head sculpture, the Le So (Later Le) dynasty’s king dishes, the stone staircase of Kinh Thien Palace, the cannon made in the Le Trung Hung (Revival Le) dynasty, and the statue of An Duong Vuong King made at the Co Loa Citadel relic.

To date, the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center, the agency in charge of the excavation and exhibition of artifacts and archeologic items at the Thang Long Imperial Citadel heritage, is now administering nine national treasures.

Nguyen Hong Chi, Deputy Director of the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center, said that each national treasure requires a typical preservation method that suits its material qualities.

The center has labeled the national treasures with QR codes, which enables better administration of the items and promotes their values to the public, and they will develop an identical label for each of the treasures, he said.

A ceremony held to honor the Huyen Thien Tran Vu at Quan Thanh Temple, one of Hanoi's four guardian temples. Photo: The Hanoi Times

In other places, whether managed by government agencies, authorities, or private collectors, the national treasures are also under strict management.

The statue of Huyen Thien Tran Vu at the Quan Thanh Temple, one of four sacred guardian temples of Hanoi, is now stored inside the barriers to prevent its feet from being touched and rubbed.

The Hanoi Museum, home to five national treasures, including the Ngoc Khanh weapons, the Co Loa bronze drum, copper plows, and the Bat Trang ceramic altar, keeps the items in good condition. The museum is seeking proper ways to digitalize these items.

Collector Nguyen Van Kinh, the owner of the Kinh Hoa bronze drum and the Kinh Hoa bronze jar, has invited scientists and specialists to advise him on the appropriate preservation method.

Being faced with severe issues in preserving national treasures, the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has called for the support of specialists to prevent the deterioration of the items.

The municipal department has also asked subordinate units and professional agencies to develop proper plans and direct the finances to protect the objects.

Nguyen Tien Da, Director of the Hanoi Museum, said that the museum plan to showcase the national treasures in 3D design to increase the interaction from both domestic and international visitors.

He said that all national treasures are on display on both indoor and digital platforms.

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