Archaeological exploration and excavation work at three ancient pagodas in Hai Duong province has been licensed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Sung Nghiem pagoda used to be a Buddhist centre of Vietnam during the Tran dynasty. Photo: Haiduong.gov.vn
The work at Sung Nghiem, Huyen Thien and Thanh Mai pagodas is being carried out by the Hai Duong provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in coordination with the Vietnam Archaeological Association from July 15 to October 15
The excavation over a total of 420sq.m, the vast majority at Thanh Mai, will be presided over by Dr Bui Van Liem from the Vietnam Archaeological Association
According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the licensed agencies must protect the stratigraphy of the areas and explain the excavation to locals people to raise their awareness of local cultural heritage. Additionally, they are not allowed to announce the results of the excavation without the agreement of the governing body and the Department of Cultural Heritage.
Meanwhile, the Hai Duong provincial Museum and the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism are responsible for preserving the artefacts collected during the excavation and submitting a report on how to protect the artefacts to the ministry.
After completing the exploration and excavation, the Hai Duong provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam Archaeological Association have to make a preliminary report and propose a plan to protect the area that has been explored and exploited.
Sung Nghiem pagoda preserves many ancient Buddha statues. Photo: Phatgiao.org.vn
Located in Binh Giang village in Pha Lai town, Sung Nghiem pagoda was built from the Ly dynasty (1009-1225) to the Tran dynasty (1225-1400) and was a Buddhist centre of Vietnam during the Tran dynasty.
The pagoda was frequently visited by the monks of Truc Lam Zen to preach as well as queens and concubines of the Tran dynasty to enjoy the scenery and conduct ceremonies to pray for prosperity. At that time, the building consisted of more than 100 rooms, however, it was burned down by French troops in 1947. Now the pagoda only preserves some remaining traces and artefacts.
Located on Ong Su mountain of Phuong Hoang range in Chi Linh city, Huyen Thien pagoda has original architectural works that harmoniously combine with the surrounding natural landscape. It was one of the largest buildings of Vietnam during the Ly-Tran dynasties.
Over nearly a thousand years, the pagoda has suffered from severe degradation, damage and been abandoned for a long time before a smaller version was rebuilt by locals.
Thanh Mai pagoda has been recognised as a national historical site since 1992. Photo: VNA/VNS
Thanh Mai pagoda is within the system of pagodas belonging to Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen Buddhism. The structure was built in the 14th century on the slopes of Thanh Mai mountain. After being renovated and expanded by the Second Patriarch Phap Loa, Thanh Mai pagoda developed and became the ancestral place of the Truc Lam Zen sect.
The pagoda attracts visitors thanks to its unique cultural values and surrounding scenic landscape. It was recognised as a national historical site in 1992.