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Vietnam’s Hoi An to restore ancient wells for tourism

Culture authorities in a central Vietnamese province, where a UNESCO-recognized ancient town is located, have decided to restore its system of ancient wells and tap into them for tourism purposes.


The government of Hoi An City in Quang Nam Province have made the decision to bring its age-old Cham wells back to life.

According to statistics provided by the Hoi An Center for Cultural Heritage Management Preservation, the city is currently home to around 80 century-old wells, which lie mostly along the northern bank of the De Vong River, within Hoi An Ancient Town, which sits entirely in Minh An Ward of the city, and scattered along rivers in the vicinity.

Many of the wells, which boast diverse shapes, were built around the 15th century.

Only a handful of such wells are still used by locals to fetch water from, according to Nguyen Chi Trung, the center’s director.

The remaining wells have long been rendered useless and turned shabby with luxuriant weeds and moss.

Most of them have become ruins or even vanished without a trace.

“In archeological archives, the land is believed to be the cradle of wells built by ethnic Cham people ages ago. There’s one approximately every 50 meters. However, a lack of care and speedy urbanization have plunged the artifacts into such dilapidation,” he added.

Truong Van Bay, vice chair of the Hoi An City People’s Committee, said his committee has assigned the Hoi An Center for Cultural Heritage Management Preservation to work out a conservation project.        

The committee also plans to turn the wells into tourist attractions in the near future, Bay added.

Trung, of the heritage center, stressed the restoration process will be divided into several phases.

To begin with, the center plans to renovate eight wells located mostly in Hoi An City’s downtown area, including Kazik Park, Nguyen Tuong Lineage Shrine, and Ong Voi (Elephant) Temple, he elaborated.

Quang Nam Province received nearly 3.7 million visits in 2014, a seven percent year-on-year rise and almost four percent higher than the target, officials reported at a meeting late last year.

This year the province expects to welcome over 3.85 million visits, including over one million international tourist visits with myriad activities and discount programs.

In 1999, Hoi An Ancient Town was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO for being a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port from the 15th to 19th centuries, and for housing buildings with a unique blend of local and foreign influences.

Since then, the culturally rich town has been voted one of the top tourist destinations in the world by several major tourism magazines.

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