Vietnam's ancient world heritage citadel damaged by natural disasters

By Le Hoang   January 10, 2021 | 07:00 pm GMT+7
The north wall of the Ho Dynasty Citadel has been significantly damaged due to impacts from storms and heavy rain.
Part of the broken wall of the citadel in Vinh Loc District of Thanh Hoa Province.   Built in 1397 by the Ho Dynasty 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.

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, landslide often happens along the north wall every time it comes to the stormy and rainy season and the situation has been worse, says Nguyen Ba Linh, director of Ho Citadel Heritage Conservation Center.

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 falling down from the wall spilled onto the street used by the public.

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

The inside of the wall after the stones have fallen off.  This is a layer of materials to reinforce the wall. These materials are not placed in any order and has layers of soil in between, Nguyen Van Long, an official at the conversation center, explains.

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

A local farmer drives a motorized tricycle pulling a cart in the back along the broken wall. Although it is a World Cultural Heritage and a tourist attraction luring a lot of tourists each year, farmers are still allowed to work on fields in the citadel’s precint following agreements between the authorities and the residents that had come before the heritage recognition.

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

A section of the north wall that still remains intact.The citadel is unique for its construction technique, which involved the use of large blocks of stone weighing 10-26 tons which were carefully shaped, interlocked and raised up by around ten meters.

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.

A view from above of the broken wall. Thanh Hoa has approved a project worth VND15 billion ($650,723) to urgently repair the wall . The fund comes from the province’s budget.  The project is carried out by the Ho Citadel Heritage Conservation Center and is expected to be completed next year.

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 has once been restored but the new stones and the original ones do not match, and that one reason has made it easier for the wall to collapse.

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 at some areas had been filled up with mortar but that could not stop the degradation.

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.

Unlike the north wall, the south wall of the citadel is still in its status quo, and it is the same for the wall in the west and the east.According to the new restoration plan, the stones used for fixing the northern wall must be the type that had been used to build the original one. Then the craftsmen will manually chisel those stones to make them match the former ones on the wall to prevent as many gaps as possible.  The foot of the wall will be strengthened by reinforced concrete.

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. The gate was completed restoring last year thanks to a two-year project funded by the  the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.  The UNESCO recognized it a World Cultural Heritage on June 27, 2011.

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.

 
 
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