N20 15 24 E105 53 47
Date of Inscription: 2014
Minor boundary modification inscribed year: 2016
Property : 6,226 ha
Buffer zone: 6,026 ha
Situated near the southern margin of the Red River Delta, the Trang An Landscape Complex is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, many of them partly submerged and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs. Exploration of caves at different altitudes has revealed archaeological traces of human activity over a continuous period of more than 30,000 years. They illustrate the occupation of these mountains by seasonal hunter-gatherers and how they adapted to major climatic and environmental changes, especially the repeated inundation of the landscape by the sea after the last ice age. The story of human occupation continues through the Neolithic and Bronze Ages to the historical era. Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Viet Nam, was strategically established here in the 10th and 11th centuries AD. The property also contains temples, pagodas, paddy-fields and small villages.
Located within Ninh Binh Province of North Vietnam near the southern margin of the Red River Delta, the Trang An Landscape Complex (Trang An) is a mixed cultural and natural property contained mostly within three protected areas; the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, the Trang An-Tam Coc-Bich Dong Scenic Landscape, and the Hoa Lu Special-Use Forest. The property covers 6,226 hectares within the Trang An limestone massif, and is surrounded by a buffer zone of 6,026 hectares, mostly rural land with rice paddy fields. There are about 14,000 residents, the majority of whom are families involved in subsistence agriculture, but much of the property is uninhabited and in a natural state.
Trang An is of global significance as an outstanding humid tropical tower-karst landscape in the final stages of geomorphic evolution. It is composed of a variety of classical karst cones and towers and a network of enclosed depressions connected by an intricate system of subterranean waterways, some of which are navigable by small boats. The area is unique in having been invaded by the sea several times in the recent geological past but is now emergent on land. The blend of towering mountains draped in natural rain forest, with large internal basins and narrow cave passages containing quietly flowing waters, creates an extraordinarily beautiful and tranquil landscape.
Archaeological deposits in caves reveal a regionally significant, continuous sequence of human occupation and utilization spanning more than 30,000 years. There is convincing evidence showing how early human groups adapted to changing landscapes in the massif, including some of the most extreme climatic and environmental changes in the planet’s recent history.
Criterion (v): Trang An is an outstanding locale within Southeast Asia, for demonstrating the way early humans interacted with the natural landscape and adapted to major changes in climatic, geographical and environmental conditions over a period of more than 30,000 years. The long cultural history is closely associated with geological evolution of the Trang An limestone massif in late Pleistocene and early Holocene times, when the inhabitants endured some of the most turbulent climatic and environmental changes in Earth history, including repeated submergence of the landscape due to oscillating sea levels. Within the one compact landscape there are many sites covering multiple periods and functions, comprising early human settlement systems.
Criterion (vii): The exceptionally beautiful tower-karst landscape of Trang An is dominated by a spectacular array of forest-mantled limestone rock towers up to 200m high, which are linked in places by sharp ridges enclosing deep depressions filled by waterways that are inter-connected by a myriad of subterranean cave passages. These features all contribute to a multi-sensory visitor experience that is heightened by contrasting and ever-changing colours – the deep green tropical rainforests, grey limestone rocks and cliffs, blue-green waters and the brilliant blue of the sky, and areas of human use including the green and yellow rice paddies. Visitors, conveyed in traditional sampans rowed by local guides, experience an intimate connection with the natural environment and a relaxing sense of serenity and security. The dramatic mountains, secretive caves and sacred places in Trang An have inspired people through countless generations.
Criterion (viii): Trang An is a superb geological property that displays, in a globally exceptional way, the final stages of tower-karst landscape evolution in a humid tropical environment. Deep dissection of an uplifted limestone massif over a period of five million years has produced a series of classical karst landforms, including cones, towers, enclosed depressions (cockpits), interior-draining valleys (poljes), foot- caves and subterranean cave passages decorated with speleothems. The presence of transitional forms between ‘fengcong’ karst with ridges connecting towers, and ‘fenglin’ karst where towers stand isolated on alluvial plains, is an extremely significant feature of the property. Trang An is an unusual autogenic karst system, being rain-fed only and hydrologically isolated from rivers in the surrounding terrain. Former inundation by the sea transformed the massif into an archipelago for some periods, though it is fully emergent on land today. Fluctuations of sea level are evidenced by an altitudinal series of erosion notches in cliffs, with associated caves, wave-cut platforms, beach deposits and marine shell layers.
Nam Dinh is a city in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam. It is the capital of Nam Định Province. The city of Nam Định is 90 km south-east of Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. From August 18–20 of each year, there is a festival held in Nam Định called the Co Trach. This celebration honors General Trần Hưng Đạo, a 13th-century national hero who led Vietnamese forces to victory over the invading Mongols. Nam Định (actually, the village of Trà Lũ) is also the birthplace of Letran Student, Dominican Friar and Vietnamese Saint Vicente Liem de la Paz, O.P. De la Paz was canonized by Pope John Paul II on June 19, 1988 (Feast Day on 24 November). Nam Định has two sports facilities, Thiên Trường Stadium (formerly Cuối Stadium) and Trần Quốc Toản Indoor Stadium, which are host to football and volleyball matches. Both sports centers are located on… [read more].
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam and its second largest city, is a fascinating blend of East and West, with Chinese influence from centuries of dominance, and French je ne sais quoi from its colonial past. It was largely unspoiled by the modern architecture of the 1970s and 80s, and is now undergoing a rapid transformation that makes it a rising star in Southeast Asia. Invading forces from every direction agree: Hanoi makes a fine capital. It has held that title for more than a thousand years, through several invasions, occupations, restorations, and name changes. The Chinese conquered the imperial city of Đại La in 1408 and renamed it Tống Bình. Le Loi repelled the invaders in 1428 and applied the name of Lê Thái Tổ. For his efforts, he received the crown and a slew of legends about his heroic exploits, many centred around the Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old… [read more].
Haiphong (Hải Phòng) is Vietnam’s third largest city, a port near Hanoi. Haiphong is mostly significant as the largest city at the delta of the Red River, which is northern Vietnam’s main river and the first major river delta from the Chinese border, historically a source of military conflict and also the center of the largest major flat (ie. agriculturally suitable) region in the country, and therefore a population center of political importance. Its use as a port region is ancient, including opium trading from upriver warlords in Yunnan (China) and general shipping during the French colonial period up to the present. The three main airlines serving Haiphong are Jetstar, VietJetAir and Vietnam Airlines. Most routes are domestic but there are some international flights from Bangkok and Seoul. The newly modernized 1 Cat Bi International Airport (Sân bay Quốc tế Cát Bi) is located south of the city. Taxis are available as… [read more].