Hue to relocate 100,000 graves to build cultural area

By Vo Thanh   March 4, 2021 | 06:24 pm PT
Hue to relocate 100,000 graves to build cultural area
A cemetery with over 100,000 graves is located beneath the Ngu Binh Nountain in Thua Thien-Hue, central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh.
Thua Thien-Hue plans to shift over 100,000 graves from a burial site and convert it into a cultural park with a statue of Emperor Quang Trung.

Hoang Hai Minh, chairman of Hue, a former imperial town and now capital of Thua Thien-Hue Province, said Wednesday the estimated cost of the relocation under a plan being prepared is VND1 trillion ($43.3 million).

The cultural site would span 34 ha, with the central areas being the Ngu Binh and Ban mountains.

"For now, graves in the area covering 9.5 ha beneath the Ngu Binh Mountain would be relocated to plant trees," Minh said.

Due to the large number of graves and high relocation costs, the project would be implemented in several phases. Budget for the project would be raised by selling some land plots in the area, he added.

The graves are expected to be moved to one cemetery in Huong Ho Ward and another in Phu Son Commune. The provincial construction department plans to expand the two cemeteries by another 20 ha.

Locals have until April to inform authorities about the number of graves their families have in the burial site that is to be relocated.

The central province had in 2005 approved a plan to make the Ngu Binh mountain area a cultural site in Hue, but the scale of the project was too large and would affect too many residents.

To make the project feasible, a new plan was proposed by Hue in 2015 and approved by the province in 2019.

The cultural site, which will feature a statue of Emperor Quang Trung (reigning 1788-1792), an important figure in Vietnam’s history, aims to "restore the natural scene in the area," while serving as a public cultural site for residents, Minh said.

Over several decades, locals had turned the Ngu Binh mountain area into a final resting place for their loved ones. Hue authorities have put up signs since 2005 asking people to desist from the practice, but residents have ignored them.

Hue currently has two main cemeteries – one in Huong Ho Ward and the other in Phu Son Commune , and several smaller ones.

An aerial view of a cemetery beneath the Ngu Binh Mountain, along with a cultural site at the location. Video by VnExpress/Vo Thanh.

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