25 Years of Promoting the Value of My Son World Cultural Heritage

2:57:48 PM | 7/2/2024

My Son Sanctuary was officially recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as a World Cultural Heritage 25 years ago. Since then, the heritage management, preservation, restoration, embellishment and promotion heritage has been focused, not only helping My Son Sanctuary revive and rediscover its original look, but also bringing new experiences to visitors.

Tower A is the largest main temple group in My Son Sanctuary

Champa imprint in the heart of Quang Nam

With construction starting in the 4th century by King Bhadravarman (reigning from 349 to 361) and ending in the late 13th and early 14th centuries under the reign of King Jaya Simhavarman III (Che Man), My Son Sanctuary is a complex of more than 70 temple towers featured by many architectural and sculptural styles representing each historical period of the Champa Kingdom. Most of the structures and sculptures at My Son are influenced by Hinduism.

Devastated by war, My Son had only 32 works left in 1975, with about 20 still retaining their original appearances. The main temples in My Son worship Linga or a representation of God Siva, the saintly guardian of Champa kings. The god worshiped in My Son is King Bhadravarman, the founder of the first king line of the Amaravati region in the 4th century, combined with God Siva to become the main religion of worshiping God - King and royal ancestors.

On December 4, 1999, My Son Sanctuary was officially recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as a World Cultural Heritage for its unique and typical historical, cultural, architectural and art values. The relic complex with architectural masterpieces has existed for thousands of years in a land with a longstanding cultural history, preserved and promoted by generations.

Efforts for heritage preservation

Mr. Nguyen Cong Khiet, Director of My Son Cultural Heritage Management Board, said: After 25 years recognized as the World Cultural Heritage, with the care of central and local authorities and the active support of UNESCO and the international community, a lot of positive results have been achieved in effective heritage management, conservation and restoration.

From a relic destroyed by time and war, the sanctuary is no longer abandoned ruins but an architectural complex with its original appearance. The typical example is the G Tower Complex renovation project under the Tripartite Cooperation Program by Italy, UNESCO and Vietnam. From 2011 to 2015, the Institute for Conservation of Monuments (ICM) carried out the E7 Tower conservation and restoration project. The Government of India supported the project of preserving and embellishing A, H and K Tower sections. JICA (Japan) sponsored the construction of the My Son Exhibition, Research and Introduction House.

In addition to the concern for tangible culture, intangible cultural values are also preserved and promoted. The Cham Folk Arts and Culture Department is constantly strengthened to perform more unique folk dances, attract tourists, conserve traditional cultural treasures and create unique touristic and cultural products of My Son.

At the same time, My Son Cultural Heritage Management Board has focused on developing tourism services to entice tourists and building new tourist products such as “Legendary My Son Night”, AudioGuide multilingual automatic narration, 360 virtual reality tours, landscape forest ecotourism, Cham brocade weaving experience and folk costume renting. In addition, there are other art programs such as “Echoes of My Son” and “Spring returns to the ancient tower”, performed during holidays and the New Year holidays.

Moreover, the board also completed the internal transportation system and native booths for visitors to experience native cultures and enjoy typical products. As a result, tourist arrivals to the My Son World Cultural Heritage increased significantly, enabling the board to complete the infrastructure and develop new tourism types suitable for spaces outside the heritage area.

Towards sustainable development

Promoting its achievements, the My Son Cultural Heritage Management Board is currently striving to complete dossiers for revising the My Son Sanctuary Planning for the period to 2030, with a vision to 2050, to expand development space and effectively foster heritage values.

The board continues to speed up advertising and promotion activities, connect tourists and businesses by technologically powered products and utilities, especially focusing on digital transformation; and strengthen companies to source customers and dominate the market share of customers visiting Quang Nam with promotions and after-sales service.

The board will build a diverse range of ecological tourism products with Thach Ban dam landscape and other tourism forms like culture, ecosystem and entertainment. The agency will improve the quality of tourism services, and link communities in tourism development by engaging local people and businesses to develop tourism together, share responsibilities and enjoy benefits.

By Thanh Loan, Vietnam Business Forum