Waiting for a repair, Saigon’s oldest temple now on the brink of collapse

Waiting for a repair, Saigon’s oldest temple now on the brink of collapse
Thong Tay Hoi Temple in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Phuc

Thong Tay Hoi, the oldest temple in Ho Chi Minh City, is very close to collapsing but the culture department is still waiting for money to have it repaired.

Vietnam's culture ministry, seeing the significance of the deteriorating 334-year-old temple, approved a renovation project in June 2015.

The city’s government then promised VND3.7 billion ($165,300) for the project, but has not disbursed the fund.

Nguyen Van Ty, a manager of the temple in Go Vap District, said it has been degrading in recent years and he has asked for help from the city authorities many times.

Many parts are now beyond saving, he said, standing in front of the crumbling corridors and rotten wooden pillars.

Le Vinh An, a conservation expert in HCMC, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper after a visit with Japanese and UNESCO experts last month that the temple is in very poor condition. “It will collapse any moment and it needs urgent intervention.”

The temple was built in 1679 and construction finished three years later, dedicated to Dong Chinh Vuong and Duc Thanh Vuong, the two sons of Emperor Ly Thai To (974-1028).

Most structures have disappeared, except for the main prayer chambers.

The temple has been damaged by termites and flooding every monsoon season, as its floor is around half a meter lower than the surrounding area.

Culture officials hope to start the repair work next year.

En Vnexpress