The central city of Da Nang has approved plans to build an elevator into the side of the Marble Mountains to make it easier for tourists and pilgrims to visit the site.
The Marble Mountains, also know as Ngu Hanh Son, is a cluster of five mountains, each of which represents an element: Kim (metal), Thuy (water), Moc (wood), Hoa (fire) and Tho (earth). The elevator will go up Thuy Mountain, the highest of the five and where many Buddhist sanctuaries are located, local news website VietNamNet reported on Friday.
According to the proposal, the 43 meter high observation elevator will have two cabs, the sides of which will be made of glass. The project, estimated to cost nearly VND10 billion (US$527,000), will also have an emergency staircase.
The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said hundreds of thousands of sightseers and pilgrims visit the site every year. However, it is often difficult for children and the elderly to take the stairs to the top of Thuy Mountain.
VietNamNet said the public does not welcome the plan, fearing that it will damage the natural beauty of the mountains, which have been recognized as a national historical and cultural site since 1990.