The cultural authorities in Vietnam are stepping in to stall plans for the dismantling and rebuilding of a 135-year-old cathedral after public criticism of the move.
According to the website of the Bui Chu Diocese, the Bui Chu Cathedral in Nam Dinh Province is set to be dismantled on May 13, VN Express reported.
Tran Dinh Thanh, the deputy director of the department of cultural heritage under the Ministry of Culture has since asked culture officials in the province for recommendations of ways to conserve the cathedral.
Bishop Thomas Vu Dinh Hieu has stated that the rebuilding plans of the cathedral were set in motion several years ago. The bishop reportedly said the structure of the cathedral was too old for restoration and the decision to dismantle and rebuild was made to ensure the safety of the parishioners.
The cathedral is currently not recognized as a heritage site but is on the list for consideration for such status, according to the culture department in the province.
The authorities were made aware of the issue when 25 architects sent a letter on May 8 to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Chairman of Nam Dinh to ask them to step in and save the cathedral.
They argued that the cathedral should be preserved and added that they had conducted an inspection of the building, which they found to be only slightly damaged. They claim that, with reinforcement, the frame of the cathedral can withstand forces for a long time.
Located in the Xuan Ngoc Commune of the Xuan Troung District, the Bui Chu Cathedral was built by Spanish Bishop Wenceslao Onate Thuan in 1885.