Restoration starts on Vietnam imperial citadel gate

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Ngo Mon (the Gate of Noon) - the main gate of a former imperial citadel in the central province of Thua Thien - Hue. Photo courtesy of Dan Tri

Restoration work began on a 180-year-old gate to a former imperial citadel in the central province of Thua Thien Hue on Thursday.

A VND43 billion (US$2.03 million) project, the restoration of Ngo Mon (the Gate of Noon) is expected to be completed by the end of 2015, according to the Hue Relics Preservation Center.

Ngo Mon was last restored in 1992 with support from Japan, but many structures within the relic, especially the Ngu Phung (Five Phoenixes) Pavilion, have since deteriorated.

The gate was built in 1833 during the rule of King Minh Mang (1791-1841), the second emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, who used it as an observation point for troop movements and ceremonies.

In 2011 the provincial People's Committee approved an outlay of nearly VND 1.3 trillion ($70 million) to restore the entire citadel, which was recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage site in 1993.

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