10.01.2021, 19:07

Vietnam’s ancient world heritage citadel damaged by natural disasters

Part of the broken wall of the citadel in Vinh Loc District of Thanh Hoa Province. Built in 1397 by Ho Dynasty rulers as the capital of Dai Ngu, Vietnam’s name from 1400 to 1407, the citadel served as a military stronghold and became a symbol of patriotism and national pride.

These days, landslides often occur along the north wall during storms or heavy bouts of rain, says Nguyen Ba Linh, director of Ho Citadel Heritage Conservation Center.

Stones fallen from the wall have spilled onto a public road.

“The reinforcing layer is made up of randomly placed material and soil,” Nguyen Van Long, an official at the conversation center, explains.

Despite it being a popular World Cultural Heritage site, farmers are still allowed to cultivate land in the citadel’s precint.

The citadel is unique for its construction, which involved the use of large blocks of stone weighing 10-26 tons, carefully shaped, interlocked and raised by up to 10 meters.

Thanh Hoa has approved a project worth VND15 billion ($650,000) to urgently repair the wall. All funds are drawn from the provincial budget. The project is overseen by Ho Citadel Heritage Conservation Center and is expected to complete next year.

The north wall of the citadel had been restored previously, but unevenly placed stones have led to instability and collapse.

In 1962, when the citadel was recognized as a national heritage site, gaps among the stones were filled with mortar, which could not stop the degradation.

Vietnam’s ancient world heritage citadel damaged by natural disasters

Unlike the north wall, the south, west and east walls of the citadel are still in good shape. According to the new restoration plan, new stones must be similar to those first used to construct that wall and feature no gaps. The foot of the wall will be strengthened by reinforced concrete.

The south gate of the citadel completed restoration last year after a two-year project supported by the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. UNESCO recognized it a World Cultural Heritage on June 27, 2011.