In June 2015, with close cooperation from the Heritage magazine of Vietnam Airlines, UNESCO Office in Hanoi, the Club of World Heritage in Vietnam and the management boards of world heritage sites, the Heritage Photo Tour programme was held for the first time at world heritage sites in the northern and north central region. The Photo Tour journey starts from the thousand-year-old Thang Long Imperial Citadel to the peaceful scenery of Tràng An and the imposing Citadel of the Hồ Dynasty before returning to the vast, luring and magnificent Hạ Long Bay.
Vietnam is now home to eight UNESCO world cultural and natural heritage sites. Six of them are cultural: Complex of Huế Monuments (1993), Hội An Ancient Town (1999), Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary (1999), Thang Long Imperial Citadel (2010), Citadel of the Hồ Dynasty (2011), two are natural: Hạ Long Bay (1994), Phong Nha Kẻ Bàng National Park (2003), and one is mixed: Tràng An Landscape Complex (2014). The two natural sites, Hạ Long Bay, Phong Nha Kẻ Bàng National Park, have been inscribed twice on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for their exceptional values.
Vietnam’s intangible cultural heritage elements that have been recognized by UNESCO include: Nhã nhạc (Huế Court Music) (2003), Space of Gong Culture in the Central Highlands (2005), Quan họ Folk Songs (2009), Ca trù Singing (2009), Gióng Festival in Sóc and Phù Đổng Temples (2010), Xoan Singing (2011), Worship of Hùng Kings (2012), Đờn ca tài tử Music and Song in Southern Vietnam (2013), Ví and Giặm Folk Songs of Nghệ Tĩnh (2014).
Participating professional photographers have produced thousands of photos that retain and awaken the potentials of the world heritage sites. The best photos have been selected for exhibition at Thăng Long Imperial Citadel together with its counterparts in central region under the same theme: “Cultural Heritage – Connection and Convergence”.
The exhibition also introduces intangible cultural values and precious documentary heritage elements of Thăng Long-Hanoi that have been recognized by UNESCO (Ca trù Singing, Gióng Festival and the Doctorate Stelae at the Temple of Literature). It also features photos of historical and scenic spots and traditional craft villages of Hanoi, all of which testify to the millenial culture of the capital city.
Through the photos, the audience can further explore the beauty and understand more about fascinating cultural, spiritual and historical stories which consolidate their pride and respect for the eternal cultural values of the nation.
It is also in this exhibition that the organizing committee plans to include performances introducing the art of ca trù singing which has been placed by UNESCO on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and other genres of traditional culture such as the singing of văn, xẩm and other folk songs to serve visitors to the site.
The exhibition is open from September 2015 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the August Revolution, the National Day of September 2, UNESCO’s 70th anniversary celebrations, 61th anniversary of the liberation of Hanoi and 5th anniversary of the inscription of Thăng Long Imperial Citadel on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage.
Some typical photos produced in the Heritage Photo Tour journey:
Đoan Môn (Main Gate) by night
Photo by: Nguyễn Bá Hảo
An artifact at Thăng Long Imperial Citadel
Photo by: Lưu Phương Bình
Citadel of the Hồ Dynasty
Photo by: Vũ Đức Thịnh
The blue Hạ Long
Photo by: Võ Rin
Bái Đính Pagoda in Tràng An Landscape Complex
Photo by: Lê Việt Khánh
Thang Long-Hanoi Heritage Conservation Centre