Traditional values lost as Hoi An Ancient Town transforms

Hundreds antique buildings in Hoi An Ancient Town are being renovated and altered to an unrecognizable extend which the local authorities fear is causing its traditional and spiritual values to be lost.

Large parts of the ancient township is occupied by storefronts

Large parts of the ancient township is occupied by storefronts

There are currently 1,429 listed ancient houses in Hoi An City, among which 1,130 are located within the Ancient Town, according to Hoi An Center for Cultural Heritage Management and Preservation.

Up to 780 of these ancient houses (and counting) have been exploited for small tradings or rented out to business owners over the past 10 years.

The old houses whose function used to be preserved by generations of families for worshipping and daily gatherings are now being exploited for business in their entirety, said Deputy Head of Hoi An City Department of Culture and Sports Tong Quoc Hung.

People are vastly misusing these spiritual spaces, replacing traditional decorative items and minimizing parts of the houses that still carry spiritual values to set up store fronts, Hung stated.

Additionally, despite the city’s attempts to reduce businesses’ promotional activities around these parts, a large proportion of the Ancient Town is being hidden behind store signs and street stalls, said Deputy Director of Hoi An Center for Cultural Heritage Management and Preservation Vo Dang Phong.

Vice Chairman of Hoi An City People’s Committee Nguyen Van Son admitted that it is difficult for the city interfere with such activities unless they purchase the ancient houses, which is not doable due to limited budget.

Son revealed that the city is compiling a regulation regarding the protection of the ancient town to submit to Quang Nam Province People's Committee as per regulations.

By Ngoc Phuc - Translated by Tan Nghia

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