Royal pavilion partly collapse in Vietnam UNESCO heritage site

By Bui Ngoc Long - Dinh Toan, Thanh Nien News

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Part of a two-floor royal building built nearly two centuries ago in Hue City collapsed on Thursday, which conservation officials believed to be caused by woodworm infestation.
Thanh Nien reporters found that at the ruined part of Phu Van Lau, one-third of its back roof collapsed, a column and four beams broke, and roof tiles totally crumbled.
The rest of the back roof was at risk of falling down as well, while the joints of the wooden structure’s beams and columns were apparently being eaten by woodboring beetles.
Phu Van Lau (Pavilion of Edicts) is located on the main axis of the Hue Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO-recognized world heritage complex in central Vietnam. Built in 1819, it was used as a place where kings posted their edicts.
The 11.7 meter high building has four roofs and 16 columns.
Phan Thanh Hai, director of Hue Monuments Conservation Center, said woodworm infestations damaged construction joints of Phu Van Lau, causing the incident.
He said his agency will collaborate with experts in evaluating the structure’s condition and introducing solutions for its dilapidation, including a repair plan.
At the moment, the center has erected barriers around the building to keep people away from it.
The incident took place just a few days after a ceremony to celebrate Buddha’s birthday, or Vesak Day, was organized at Phu Van Lau with the participations of thousands of tourists and local people.
The pavilion has undergone 10 repairs with the latest taking place in 1993-1995.
Phu Van Lau’s image has been printed on the back of the Vietnamese 50,000-dong bill since 2003.

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