Trang An's Open Air History Lesson

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After a day visiting the Trang An eco tourism site in Ninh Binh Province, Moroccan Ambassador El Houcine Fardanin admitted to being very surprised by the grandiose landscapes, describing the area as "a wonderful open air geological museum."

Halong Bay on Land

Covering 2,168ha, the site resembles a land-locked Halong Bay. Trang An is one of few tourist sites in the world which include flooded fields surrounded by limestone loops. Trang An has diverse caves and grottos which have experienced long geological changes. Mountains, caves, grottos and lakes lie interlinked. 48 zigzagging grottos connect the lakes together. With a range of stalactites, Trang An is a curiosity for any tourist.

According to professor, Dr. Do Van Tru, General Secretary of the Vietnam Cultural Heritage Association, archeological remains on the site date back in the prehistoric age and have been maintained in Trang An's grottos. Those remains reflect human development history and the history of global climate change and regional environmental evolution. Scientists have discovered remains of prehistoric people dating back from 5,000 to 30,000 years ago in Boi, Trong, Thung Binh caves and Hang Cho Mountain and Ong Hay Mountain.

Do Van Tru agreed that Trang An acted as an open air geological museum. Diverse geological characteristics are the result of millions of years of geological changes. The sea was transformed into imposing mountains and limestone outcrops which changed into more than 500 caves and grottos dating back from 6,000 to 32 million years ago.

In addition, Trang An has abundant and unique fauna and flora both on land and water. The terrestrial ecosystem includes 600 types of flora and 200 types of fauna, many of which are listed on the Vietnamese Red Book of endangered species. The marine ecosystem include many valuable animals such as the strip necked tortoise. With untouched imposing limestone grottos, beautiful valleys and underground rivers, Trang An has great potential for tourism development.

Striving to become a world natural heritage site

Aware of the unique value in terms of geology and terrain and approved by the National Council for Cultural Heritage, the Department of Foreign Cultural and UNESCO, Vietnamese National Commission for UNESCO, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has proposed the Prime Minister to allow Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to work with related departments and localities to draft documents and make a submission to UNESCO to recognize Trang An as a world natural heritage site.

According to the Ninh BInh Province Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Deputy Director Nguyen Duc Long, Trang An meets two UNESCO criteria including it's reflecting of important changes in the earth's history and the transcendent natural phenomenon and beautiful landscapes.

Nguyen Duc Long believed that with assistance from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and related departments, Trang An will become a world natural heritage site.

The documents on the Trang An tourist site will be submitted for UNESCO on September 30, 2012. The site has been engaged the special attention of scientists, UNESCO members and tourists.

By Thanh Tam

Source: VEN