Culture Culture

09/09/2020 - 08:12

Creating a network to make up a special space for Hue unique art and culture

Le Loi street in Hue city is regarded as the most important highlight where both modern Hue style and historical values are clearly manifested. It will be the new aspect of Hue as a heritage city if an appropriate cultural space is created.

Diem Phung Thi’s Art space in Le Loi street is a place for tourists to admire artworks.

In addition to the Citadel, the Western quarter and the cuisine corner behind Dong Ba market, Le Loi street has been selected not by chance by the provincial authorities as a central area of tourism and services for both visitors and locals.

The Huong River, which flows into the heart of Hue city, dividing it into two; on the South Bank, Le Loi street is considered the front, the vestibule of the great Citadel. Not citing from history, certain buildings in this beautiful street such as the Children’s House, Quoc Hoc High school, Hai Ba Trung High school and Hue Central Hospital, … are enough to recognize an urban city with imposing stature.

In addition, there are many other culturally-valued buildings in this street, such as the Hue Festival Service Center, Lieu Quan center for Buddhism culture , the art galleries of Le Ba Dang and Diem Phung Thi and the showroom of XQ embroidery.

Recently, within the evolution of Hue, the surroundings of Le Loi street mark considerable changes including the walking street along the southern bank, the ironwood walking path and the embellishment of the parks along the river. These changes may not have noticeable effects but they contribute to the beautifying of the street along Southern Bank of the Huong river.

Tran Thi Thanh Nga, a visitor, said: “It is sure for a visitor like me to stroll along Le Loi street because it has not only beautiful parks and poetic walking streets along the banks of the river, but also several historical sites.”

Valuable as it is, there is still a problem arising, that is, how to exploit and connect these values effectively. For this, a project of establishing an art and culture space along Le Loi street, the section between Phu Xuan and Truong Tien bridges, has been issued by the provincial People’s Committee. This project aims to connect the art centers, exhibition galleries, museums,… together to create a cultural space to meet the needs for research, study, teaching and imparting the knowledge about  history and culture and science to the public, and at the same time, to attract visitors to Hue for socio-economic development. This indicates that Le Loi street plays an important role in the development of Hue ancient capital.

The walking path connecting Le Loi street with the space of the Huong river

Part of the implementation of the project was the dismantlement of the fences of the buildings to allow the clear space. In addition, Hue is implementing a number of changes such as urban embellishment, the establishing certain amenities such as boat stops, parks, and centers for introducing traditional craft villages and ao dai… to form more highlights for the city.

The conflict between development and preservation always exists, so there is much concern about the forming of the unique culture and art space in this project as to whether the functional transformed units or the newly constructed buildings actually display and promote the entire beauty of Huong River or not still have no answers.

Mr. Nguyen Xuan Hoa, a researcher, said: “This is the most beautiful street in Hue. The detail plan of this street axis must be in harmony with the Huong River. It is necessary to make it as a front lobby of the Imperial City, creating a cultural space for Hue residents. The re-assignment of the architectural buildings along the street needs to take cultural and tourist axis into account. It is also important to reconsider constructing hotels and guest houses in this street. So, in order not to break down its structure, we need to sacrifice certain financial benefits.”.

According to the Vice-chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, Phan Thien Dinh, it is no use quantifying the economic values of Le Loi street. The feeling of being in the very Hue can be felt only when a visitor walks along this street. The street along the river and the ironwood pathway are now so tightly close to the Huong River making up a spot that visitors can’t miss checking in. The concern in the architectural planning for Le Loi street is what kind of construction works should the authorities call for to ensure the balance between the benefits for the investors and the architectural harmony for the city.

“The Le Loi street axis is the most important highlight of Hue. Whereas the Citadel in the North Bank area symbolizes the ancient architecture, Le Loi street in the South Bank area is the evidence of its transformation into the French colonial architecture with many cultural values. An entire renovation will put a historical period with special cultural features at the risk of deletion. We are calling for appropriate investment projects which ensure the architectural harmony. Though it is hard, it is very crucial to have thoughtful plan, creating a network for a special space for unique art and culture,” said Mr. Dinh.

Story and photos: Le Tho