Bac Lieu to restore colonial houses for tourism complex

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Twenty-one French colonial homes on the banks of the Bac Lieu River in the eponymous province, which are more than a hundred years old, will be restored and maintained as a tourism complex, local authorities say.

Nguyen Chi Thien, director of the southern province's Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, said the list of buildings in the restoration project include the Bac Lieu Library, the provincial museum, Bac Lieu newspaper office, the retirement club, and Cong tu Bac Lieu (Bac Lieu dandy, son of a rich landlord in Bac Lieu).

All the structures, built early in the 20th century with materials brought in from France, are located in the downtown area of Bac Lieu Town, which makes it convenient for tourists to visit and go shopping, Thien said.

He said some buildings will be restored together with their original interiors and furniture for both visiting and studying purposes as well as accommodation for tourists.

The tour of old homes will start with the Bac Lieu Library on Hai Ba Trung Street, which was the house of Tran Van Chuong, father of de facto First Lady Tran Le Xuan of South Vietnam from 1955 to 1963. Next on the list will be the museum, which houses artifacts of the Kinh, Khmer, and Chinese communities in the province, as well the Oc Eo culture that flourished between the 1st and 7th centuries CE.

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The Cong tu Bac Lieu house, where porcelain vases, chairs and table inlaid with mother-of-pearl, a hundred-year-old telephone used by the dandy Tran Trinh Huy in the past, is the most famous and well-preserved building in the town.

Visitors will not only be told intriguing stories about the dandy, they will also have the chance to stay in some of the building's rooms, and have their picture taken with Tran Trinh Duc, the remaining son of dandy Huy.

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