Hue seeks Japan’s ODA for heritage restoration

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Thua Thien – Hue Province is seeking US$30 million from Japan’s official development assistance (ODA) to renovate and reconstruct the works in the Forbidden Purple City of Hue City, said a provincial official in charge of heritage restoration.

Phan Thanh Hai, deputy director of Hue Monuments Conservation Center, said that one-third of the amount would go to the reconstruction of Can Chanh Palace, the imperial city’s second largest place after Thai Hoa Palace, which was destroyed in wartime.

Phan said that the renovation had been scheduled for ages, adding that in 1994, the center in cooperation with Japan’s Waseda University conducted research into the restoration of Can Chanh Palace as well as some works damaged in wartime.

What make Can Chanh Palace different from other ones are the patterns, motifs, and poems from the kings as well as mandarins under Nguyen Dynasty, which were engraved on its body. To date, the research and collections of documents are relatively sufficient.

“We proposed borrowing ODA to execute the project, but if unsuccessful, we will call for other sources of capital for the restoration which will initiate the upgrade of other works to conserve Hue Imperial City, a world heritage,” Hai told the Daily on Thursday on the sidelines of a seminar to introduce the National Tourism Year in the north central region and Festival Hue 2012.

Long Duc, a small palace in Thai Mieu shrine, which was built under King Gia Long’s reign and is as old as Can Chanh Palace, has been restored, which would give more experiences to better the restoration of Can Chanh Palace, he said.

In the coming time, another small palace called Chieu Kinh, which was razed to the ground, will also be rebuilt to prepare for the big project.

Hai said that it usually takes 20 years or more to go from research to the restoration of a relic, adding that as the renovation of Can Chanh Palace underwent research in 15 year’s time, it may take just five years to carry out the renovation.

In addition to Can Chanh, the center also planned to upgrade some works in the Forbidden Purple City such as Van Minh Palace, Dong Cac House, Can Thanh Palace, and Khon Thai Palace.

The organizing board of the National Tourism Year and Festival Hue 2012, which will take place in the central province and some other neighboring localities on Thursday introduced the events to HCMC-based tourism enterprises.

Under the theme of Heritage Tourism, next year’s tourism year together with Hue Festival 2012 will have many activities organized throughout the year.

Chairman of the provincial government of Thua Thien – Hue Nguyen Van Cao hoped that the tourism year and Hue Festival in this year’s early April would help the local tourism industry receive more arrivals from some 1.7 million to 2 or 2.5 million.

With around 8.000 hotel rooms and many guesthouses, the province has enough accommodation for visitors. The province will also work with the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and Vietnam Railways to increase the flights as well as the trains during the festivities.

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