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08/12/2021 - 19:23

Finding a way to preserve and build space for Gia Hoi old quarter

Gia Hoi - Dinh market ancient urban area is a unique heritage, bearing elements of the cultural structure of an ancient urban area. It is existing in a constantly changing residential community. Due to both the pressure of modern urbanization and the lack of appropriate conservation and development planning, this area has gradually been deformed. This leads to the destruction of the historical and cultural architectural space of this area, and the cultural tourism resources are being wasted.

This is the opinion of the researcher Nguyen Xuan Hoa when talking about Gia Hoi ancient town at the scientific conference "Solutions to build Gia Hoi old quarter into a typical commercial street of Hue city", organized by the Provincial Development Research Institute on the morning of December 7.

Over time, many old houses in Gia Hoi old quarter were degraded and seriously damaged. Photo: N.P

Deformed… but not yet eradicated

Gia Hoi old quarter - Dinh market, located east of the citadel, was the busiest area of Hue capital in the early 19th century. This place has many royal residences, associated with pagodas, communal houses, and shrines of the Vietnamese people, forming a unique structure. In addition to the traditional architectural heritage, there is also the intangible heritage of traditional festivals, traditional handicrafts, Hue royal art performance activities, etc., which represent a part of daily life activities of the old urban area next to the citadel.

Mr. Hoa said that, in the face of the above situations, on various occasions, researchers and cultural organizations had proposed solutions. However, due to the lack of a strategic policy from the authorities at all levels on preserving and promoting the value of the old urban area, all efforts had been unsuccessful.

Currently, this ancient urban area is increasingly deformed but has not completely eradicated. Therefore, according to Mr. Hoa, in the context that the province is focusing on implementing Resolution 54 of the Politburo, the issue of protecting, restoring and promoting the value of Gia Hoi - Dinh market ancient urban area needs to be implemented as soon as possible, with a specific project and with a sense of responsibility to the people and to history.

According to the survey team Tran Van Dung, Do Minh Dien and Le Nguyen Phu, currently, the Gia Hoi - Dinh market old quarter heritage has 22 royal residences along with numerous religious architecture, community architecture, and colonial architecture... In which, there are many degraded and seriously damaged sites.

Among them, 3 sites are classified as National Monuments, namely The Lai Thuong Communal House, the House of Worship for the Founder of Goldsmithery, and Thanh Binh Ancestral Worship House. In addition, Dieu De Pagoda, Chieu Ung Temple, Gia Hung Vuong Residence, Thoai Thai Vuong Residence, Duke Tuy An Residence, Princess Ngoc Son Residence, An Quan Village Communal House, Holy Mother Shrine, Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, Trieu Chau Assembly Hall, are on the inventory list of 205 typical historical, cultural and scenic works, sites, and scenic spots under the decision of the Provincial People's Committee.

In need of a plan to promote values

In the face of concerns about the deterioration of many architectural works in this old town, the survey team suggested that it is necessary to promptly issue standards on construction design forms for new and upcoming projects in the facade area of Gia Hoi - Dinh market old quarter (based on the general characteristics of the remaining street houses of Gia Hoi - Dinh market, but the interior must meet the needs of modern life). Any new construction must follow the overall plan and the complex of the remaining old quarter relics.

In addition, it is necessary to improve the infrastructure in the old quarter, embellish the landscape on both banks of the Huong River and Ho Thanh Ha. “It is also necessary to raise awareness and mobilize the support of the people to participate in heritage conservation. In addition, heritage conservation needs to be associated with sustainable tourism development. Through the research process, we propose several tours to promote the activity of linking heritage with tourism - which is Hue's strength," emphasized the representative of the survey team, Mr. Le Nguyen Phu.

At the conference, in addition to opinions on the preservation of this old town in the face of deterioration and damage, experts also gave an analysis and assessment of the economic and social situation.

Gia Hoi ward has over 5,500 households, with nearly 29,000 people. The majority of people work as manual laborers, craftsmen, carpenters, bricklayers, mechanics, conical hat sewers, tailors, etc., the rest work in small trades and services.

Currently, Gia Hoi old quarter no longer maintains the position of the city's trade center. Most of the trade only serves the needs of the local people's lives, so it has not met the potential for development of Gia Hoi old quarter.

According to Vo Sy Chau, architect, (Faculty of Architecture - University of Science, Hue University), Gia Hoi old quarter possesses a variety of commercial housing architectures, demonstrating the development process of the urban development in Vietnam from the Nguyen Dynasty to the present. If we know how to exploit the typical values of the sites, it will create a unique tourist product that attracts tourists. This is what the ancient town of Hoi An did.

However, Mr. Chau said that the old quarter has deteriorated so quickly that both Hue people and tourists are startled. The old quarter is progressively getting worse and disappearing. "Therefore, it is necessary to have numerous plans to preserve and promote the values of this area, especially the commercial houses, as a premise for Hue tourism development in the future," Mr. Chau recommended.

By Nhat Minh

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