Accelerating the implementation of projects regarding the conservation and promotion of heritage values

On the afternoon of 23 February 2021, the Standing Committee of the Hanoi Party Committee worked with the Thang Long-Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center on the progress of projects in the Thang Long Imperial Citadel and Co Loa relic site.

The conference was jointly chaired by Politburo member, Secretary of the City Party Committee, Head of the Hanoi National Assembly delegation H.E Mr. Vuong Dinh Hue; Member of the Party Central Committee, Standing Deputy Secretary of the City Party Committee Nguyen Thi Tuyen; Member of the Party Central Committee, Deputy Secretary of the City Party Committee, Chairman of the City People’s Committee Chu Ngoc Anh; Deputy Secretary of the City Party Committee, Chairman of the City People’s Council Nguyen Ngoc Tuan; Deputy Secretary of the City Party Committee Nguyen Van Phong;

The conference was also attended by Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Dao Cuong; Head and Representative of UNESCO Office in Vietnam Michael Croft; leaders of the National Council of Cultural Heritage, the Vietnam Historical Science Association, the Scientific Advisory Council, experts and scientists in the fields of culture, history and architecture; leaders of a number of departments, divisions, branches and Ba Dinh and Dong Anh districts.

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Secretary of Hanoi Party Committee Vương Đình Huệ addressing the conference (photo by: Thanh Hải).

Regarding the management, conservation, embellishment and promotion of heritage values and progress of the ongoing projects, Dr. Tran Viet Anh, Director of Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center said that The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi was made a special national relic site in 2009 and then was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in August 2010 while Co Loa was ranked as special national relic site in 2012. The Center approved of the planning of two relic sites in 2015. Over the past years, the Center has also tried to gradually turn the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long into an attractive destination for domestic and international tourists. It has also looked into the intangible cultural values of the site to develop tourism products unique to Thang Long Imperial Citadel and Co Loa. 10 years after the site was inscribed on the World Heritage List, the Hanoi People’s Committee has directed the Thang Long Heritage Conservation Center to fulfill seven out of eight of the Government’s commitments to UNESCO. However, up to now, the integrated management of the heritage site on relics and artefacts has not been completed. Specifically, regarding the integrated management of monuments, Hanoi city has received and managed 91% of the heritage area. As for the management of archaeological relics and artifacts, the management board of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel has conducted major-scale archaeological excavations since 2002 and found an exceedingly large number of artifacts. From 2010 until now, a number of artefacts have been handed over by the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences to the Hanoi People’s Committee for display and preservation according to the research roadmap. The number of artefacts that have not been handed over, however, remains very large. On 4 December 2020, the People’s Committee of Hanoi and the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences signed an agreement to implement the plan and roadmap to hand over all remaining artefacts from 2020 to 2025.

The Center has completed a number of projects such as the project of preserving and embellishing the western wall of the sojourn palace in the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi (2017); the project of renovating, repairing and combating degradation with recurrent funding to serve visitors in the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi and the Co Loa relic site. It has also organized competitions to select options of architectural design for the 18 Hoang Dieu part of the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. Many other projects are underway, but some of them have gone behind schedule due to many difficulties and obstacles, such as the Project to Preserve the Operational Department House and gradually restore the space of Kinh Thien Palace, which has been implemented since 2017; the embellishment of the land plot handed over by the Ministry of National Defense and the families of two elderly revolutionaries; the overall project of preserving, embellishing and promoting the value of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi; the project of making detailed planning on a scale of 1/500 for Co Loa Citadel relic area.

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Mr. Trần Việt Anh, Director of the Centre, presenting a report at the conference (photo by: Thanh Hải).

At the conference, the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center proposed to the leaders of Hanoi City a number of issues, particularly focusing on implementing the work of unifying the management of the relic and completing the handing over the relics. For the preparation of investment projects, it was proposed that the City authorities allow the implementation of components of the Project of preserving, embellishing and promoting the value of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi according to the 1/500 planning that had been approved; approve of an investment project to restore Kinh Thien Palace based on archaeological excavations, similar works elsewhere and expert and social opinions; allow the implementation of projects of conserving and embellishing Co Loa Citadel with the scale of 1/2000 (when implementing the component projects, a master plan of 1/500 scale will be established for each project); At the same time, the Centre also asked the City leaders to direct departments and agencies to continue coordinating with the Center to implement key tasks such as completing the project of digitizing relics, applying information technology in management and display and exhibition activities; implement the plan to improve the quality of destinations, connecting with relics and museums in the city; expand the heritage education program, school trips that combine historical and revolutionary traditional education for students in the capital city.

At the meeting, representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the National Council of Cultural Heritage, and scientists gave opinions on speeding up projects, implementing projects subcomponents to communicate the values of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long and Co Loa to the sightseeing public while promoting cultural resources to serve development. Scientists also proposed that the city focus strongly on directing research into the restoration of Kinh Thien Palace, long-term preservation of the Archaeological Site of 18 Hoang Dieu and the construction of the Ngo Quyen Temple in Co Loa.

According to the assessment of the representative of UNESCO Office in Vietnam, Thang Long Imperial Citadel is an example in fulfilling its commitments with UNESCO on the conservation and promotion of world heritage sites. UNESCO stands ready to mobilize international resources to help Hanoi preserve the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long and recommends that Hanoi consult the World Heritage Council to ensure the restoration of monuments such as Kinh Thien Palace does not compromise the outstanding universal values of the heritage.

In concluding the meeting, Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue suggested that the results achieved in the conservation, embellishment and promotion of the value of Thang Long Imperial Citadel and Co Loa relic site over the past time has not been commensurate with its potential. He said that the implementation of projects was very slow, lacked focus, and did not meet the expectations of people, tourists and international friends. This was due mainly to subjective reasons, including the awareness of all levels and branches. The realisation of the policies of the Government and the city remained slow while inter-sectoral coordination was inadequate.

As he emphasized a number of requirements and tasks to be fulfilled in the coming time, Secretary of the City Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue directed departments of all levels to continue to realize the major policies and views of the Party and State in terms of the protection of the environment and preservation and promotion of world and national heritage sites. He urged them to be more aware of the great values of Thang Long Imperial Citadel and Co Loa relic site and turn that determination, sense of responsibility and enthusiasm into the practical work of analyzing and clarifying the achieved result as well as the shortcomings and limitations that need to be removed.

Regarding the solution to the integrated management of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, Secretary of the City Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue suggested that the City People’s Committee direct agencies and units to coordinate with relevant ministries and branches to promptly prepare a new premise in Nam Tu Liem district to relocate the Vietnam Military History Museum. At the same time, it is necessary to closely follow the guiding documents of the Central Government, in terms of schedule and requirements to hand over and receive the remaining areas while urgently carry out repairs and procure equipment to preserve archaeological relics after receiving them.

Secretary of the City Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue assigned the City People’s Committee the responsibility of directing the completion of documents, proposal of policies to submit for approval of projects with a focus on speeding up the project at the 18 Hoang Dieu archeological site and the restoration of Kinh Thien Palace, adding them to the list of prioritized projects and make prompt municipal investment.

Secretary of the City Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue also directed the establishment of a Steering Committee for projects related to Thang Long Imperial Citadel and Co Loa relic site, headed by the Chairman of the City People’s Committee, the finalization of the Scientific Advisory Council and the building of capacity for Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center, the strengthening of international cooperation in carrying out this task and the training and capacity building for the Center’s staff.

Thăng Long – Hà Nội Heritage Conservation Centre

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