|Giac Lam Pagoda in HCM City needs immediate care to preserve its heritage status. (Source: nld.com.vn)
Experts and local authorities discussed preservation efforts at a programme organised by the HCM City People’s Committee and the HCM City Television Station (HTV).
Hai said it was important to strengthen state management to prevent the deterioration of heritage sites, adding that "what is lost can never return". The role of communities should be enhanced and authorities should speed up the compilation of records about existing relics and heritage sites. These records could be used as a basis to develop effective solutions.
HCM City has 172 relic and heritage sites. Documents on each site must have detailed information about its preservation characteristics to help the owner easily maintain, restore and promote the site.
The budget for cultural heritage preservation needs to be increased, and should not just be 500 billion VND (21.6 million USD), Hai said.
Cooperation between domestic and international authorities must be strengthened as well, he added.
After 320 years of its establishment, the city has preserved many urban cultural heritage sites but more needs to be done. Some of these heritage sites could be repurposed and used as tourism products, promoting the cultural values of HCM City.
According to a report in Nguoi Lao Dong (Labourer) newspaper, of 172 relics and heritage sites, 40 have attracted public attention.
Several cultural relics are rich in content as they have a long historical background associated with the typical features of the southern people.
Specifically, a number of relics in the city have degraded and even been encroached upon, including Giac Lam Pagoda in Tan Binh district.
The pagoda has a rich history of more than 250 years, with 113 old statues made from jackfruit wood, and many other precious artifacts.
Because the most popular cultural sites such as Reunification Palace and Notre Dame Cathedral are located in the city centre, this has resulted in an imbalance of heritage sites citywide.
Although the city’s cultural heritage resources are very diverse, the city has yet to develop general or specific plans to determine their value and preserve them accordingly, Hai said.
Management, restoration, conservation and promotion of cultural heritage values all need to be improved.