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Ancient pagoda in Hanoi recognised as national tourist attraction

Tay Phuong Pagoda, a national special relic site in Hanoi’s Thach That district, has been recognised as a national tourist attraction.

The decision has been signed by Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee Nguyen Manh Quyen.

The municipal People's Committee has assigned the Culture, Information and Sports Centre of the district to manage, exploit and develop the tourism site in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Tourism and related legal documents.

Located 40km north west of Hanoi centre, Tay Phuong Pagoda was built around the eighth century and is the second oldest pagoda in Vietnam after Dau Pagoda in the northern province of Bac Ninh. It is the combination of three pagodas, Ha, Trung and Thuong.

Besides its original architecture, Tay Phuong Pagoda is well known for being home to unique works of ancient Vietnamese Buddhist sculptures including carvings and statues.

Among 64 statues, 18 Arhats date back nearly 300 years. The most impressive is the statue of Guanyin Buddha with one thousand eyes and one thousand hands.

The pagoda was listed as a national special heritage site in 2014. A year later, a collection of more than 70 Buddha and Arhats statues were recognised as national treasures.

The pagoda underwent many restorations prior to the Tay Son Dynasty (1778-1802), after which it has maintained its shape and architecture.

However, the national special relic site has suffered from severe degradation over time and is at risk of collapse, which could damage the centuries-old statues inside.

According to Can Viet Hung, Deputy Director of Thach That district Cultural Information and Sports Centre, the city's Department of Culture and Sports is assigned to work with the locality to submit a restoration plan to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for approval.

The project has an estimated budget of 150 billion VND (6.56 million USD) to wholly repair the pagoda, preserving ancient features.

If the plan is approved, work will start in 2023 and is expected to be finished by 2025./.