Only one old quarter remains in Ho Chi Minh City

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Only one "old quarter" remains in Ho Chi Minh City, a 300-year old urban area that has seen some of its most historic neighborhoods vanish amid the onslaught of development and commercialization, experts have said.


Dating from the early 19th century, the quarter is located around the intersection of Hai Thuong Lan Ong and Trieu Quang Phuc streets in District 5, part of the historic "Chinatown" in the southern city, the HCMC Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism reported at a conference Firday.


A study begun by the department in 2006 also showed that over the past five years, the city has recognized three out of 58 old buildings as important historical landmarks: the HCMC Municipal Theater, the HCMC Museum, and HCMC People's Court.


The city has also listed 12 old tombs as offical relic sites but another 21 need preservation efforts, according to the study.


HCMC is currently home to 73 official relic sites.


However, many sites, mainly pagodas and clubhouses, are being used for various commercial purposes and have been encroached upon by nearby developments, according to the study, which aimed to help plan the preservation of cultural and historical sites in HCMC through 2020.


The problem is partly that local people have lived nearby or on the sites long before they were officially recognized, the study pointed out.

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