A scientific seminar on restoring and preserving a centuries-old rampart in the central region was held by Hanoi’s Ecole Française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO – the French Academy of the Far East) in the central province of Quang Ngai on April 16 with attendance of many local and foreign scientists.
|A team of international scientists study the longest rampart in Southeast Asia, located in Vietnam’s Quang Ngai Province. |
The fortified wall is considered the longest and largest scale rampart in the country and also the entire Southeast Asian region.
The 200-km rampart is believed to have been built before the 17th century by people and troops under the leadership of Le Van Duyet, a military dignitary of the Nguyen Dynasty.
And while it has been left to degrade for hundreds of years, the rampart - made skillfully with soil and stone - is still in relatively good condition, according to experts.
The western wall of the rampart runs along the Truong Son mountain range through the Quang Ngai districts of Tra Bong, Son Tinh, Son Ha, Tu Nghia, Minh Long, Nghia Hanh, Ba To, Duc Pho, and Binh Dinh.
It then runs into the districts of An Lao and Hoai Nhon in the neighboring province of Binh Dinh, separating the plain and highland.
On high slopes and challenging mountainous areas that are difficult to access, the wall was mainly made of stone to avoid landslides and hold up in unpredictable weather. To this day, these areas have remained almost completely undamaged, said Andrew Hardy of the EFEO.
The rampart’s largest sections measure 4 meters in height and 2.5 meters in width. It also crosses several streams and rivers and includes 115 military posts for 15-20 sentries each.
People in Duc Pho District call the wall Duong cai quan thuong (interprovincial highway) because of its role in protecting the important National Road 1A, which links Vietnam’s north and south.
According to Professor Phan Huy Le, chairman of the Viet Nam Association of History Science, the rampart was formerly used as a multi-function road serving military, economy, business and traffic purposes in the country.
The most urgent task now is restoring and preserving the wall, as well as studying its historical and cultural value, Prof. Le stressed.
Ph.D. Nguyen Dang Vu, a folk culture expert and director of the Quang Ngai Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the department is now drafting a proposal to submit to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to have the rampart recognized as a provincial and national relic.
Professor Christopher Young, head of the Heritage Council’s Consulting Board of the UK, said the rampart is indeed highly valuable and has been preserved well so far.
Local authorities should focus on raising people’s awareness about the importance of protecting this piece of heritage and build safety corridors with a width of 550 meters each on either side of the rampart, Prof. Young added.