Trang An is located in Gia Vien, Nho Quan district, Ninh Binh province, about 90km from Hanoi city’s center. This is the first World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site in Vietnam recognized by UNESCO.
Trang An covers an area of 6,226ha. It is surrounded by a buffer zone of 6,026ha, mostly comprising paddy rice fields and villages. As a mixed cultural and natural property, Trang An contains three protected areas, including Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel, Tam Coc Bich Dong, and Hoa Lu Special-Use Primary Forest.
Located in the humid tropical region, Trang An is a mountainous area that extends in a northwest-southeast direction. To the north and northwest of Trang An lie Bai Dinh karst hills; to the southwest and the south are Dong Tam – Son Ha and Tam Coc – Bich Dong karst ranges; to the southeast and northeast is Truong Yen karst range; to the northeast and the north is Trang An karst range.
River network in Trang An Ninh Binh is well developed with Hoang Long River to the north, Chanh River to the east, He River to the south, Ben Dang River to the west and river systems of Sao Khe, Ngo Dong and Den Voi in the heart of the heritage.
Trang An Area was invaded and reworked by the sea many times in the recent geological past but is now emergent on land. Landform development over a period of more than five million years produced scenic landscape of extraordinary beauty – a blend of towering cliff-bounded mountains draped in natural rain forest, surrounded by huge and deeply developed internal basins whose clear and quietly flowing waters are connected through a myriad of underground streams and caverns, many of which are navigable by small sampans carrying tourists.
Trang An Ninh Binh cultural value
Trang An is a prominent place in Southeast Asia and the world which contains abundant archaeological evidences preserved almost intact, mostly shells, animal bones, pottery, stone tools, kitchen floor and human remains. This is an extremely valuable documentary treasure demonstrating the way that prehistoric human interacted with natural landscape and adapted to major changes of environment over more than 30,000 years, at least since the late Ice Age. During this time, they endured some of the most turbulent climatic and geographical changes in the Earth’s history. Besides, cultural and historical relics such as pagodas, temples, palaces in Trang An also contribute to consolidating many archaeological documents.
Trang An aesthetic value
The karst tower landscape of Trang An Ninh Binh is among the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places of its kind anywhere in the world. Dominating the landscape is a spectacular array of cone-shaped rock towers whose sheer vertical walls rise abruptly 200m above the surrounding land and water.
Narrow interconnecting ridges, which have been likened to mythical giant swords, enclose circular and linear depressions whose expansive waterways are linked by gently flowing streams winding through subterranean caverns up to one kilometer in length. Visitors, carried through these passages in small traditional sampans, can enjoy the multitude of fascinating carbonate stalactites, curtains and other decorations that adorn the ceilings.
Dense rain forest covers the landscape, even clinging to the cliffs and peaks. Blending naturally and beautifully with the forests are the extensive rice paddy fields bordering the rivers, creating a picturesque patchwork of color, enlivened by the presence of local farmers and fisher folk engaged in their traditional way of life.
Several historic temples and pagodas, some perched high on the valley walls and peaks, signify the important spiritual and religious associations with the landscape. The countryside of the surrounding buffer zone presents a picture of traditional rural life with gardens and fields among small villages linked by simple tracks, narrow roads and a network of streams and canals.
Trang An geological and geomorphological value
Trang An displays the end stages of karst tower landscape evolution in a humid tropical environment. The product of deep dissection of an uplifted limestone massif over a period of millions years is a remarkable array of classical karst landforms, including cones and towers, depressions (cockpits), valleys (poljes), rockfall collapse structures and deposits, subterranean caverns and rivers, caves and speleothems.
A network of cross-cutting parallel faults divides the area into cells and promotes the development of enclosed depressions. An altitudinal series of erosional notches in rock walls with associated caves, wave-cut platforms, beach deposits and marine shells is evidence of former stands of sea level.
On 23 June 2014, in Doha (Qatar), World Heritage Committee of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized officially Trang An Ninh Binh as World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site based on three criteria: culture, aestheticism and geology – geomorphology.
Not far from Hoa Lu, you can discover by boat the site of Trang An which closely resembles that of Tam Coc, or to Halong Bay with tower limestone rising from water. This beautiful spot is surrounded by mountain forest, mysterious caves some of which has two km long such as: Dia Linh, Sinh Duoc, May cave.
You will have a chance to discover the history of ancient capital through temples: Trinh, Tran temple, Khong palace which were built beside the water or nestled between the mountains and lost amidst the vegetation. Do not miss this place for: stunning scenery, friendly people, peaceful, relaxing, great photo opportunities, interesting culture.
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