Photos of couples posing atop the old houses, whose roofs have stood the test of time for decades but may break down anytime, in central Vietnam’s Hoi An Ancient Town have recently surfaced on Facebook, triggering criticism from the public and raising eyebrows among regulators.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Quang Nam Province, the Hoi An Ancient Town is known for its tile-roofed wooden houses and a unique blend of Japanese and Chinese architecture.
Recent photos going viral on social media show that the roofs of the ancient houses became a great background for young couples’ prewedding photo shoots.
Shooting for a prewedding photo album before the official ceremony is a common practice among soon-to-be-weds in Vietnam.
But it is going against the laws on heritage preservation for people to step onto the roofs of these unique old houses, some of which dated back to the 18th and 19th century, of Hoi An.
|A photographer takes a photo of a couple as they sit atop an ancient house in Hoi An, central Vietnam. Photo: Facebook|
Nguyen Van Lanh, head of Hoi An Information and Culture Center, said its officers had been tasked with verifying the houses where the controversial prewedding photos were taken.
The center was able to identify that the houses in question are ancient houses located next to some cafés on Tran Phu Street.
According to the owners of these cafés, the idea of taking prewedding photos atop the roofs of the age-old house came from their customers.
People came to the coffeehouses, ordered their drinks and stepped from the cafés’ rooftops onto the roofs of the next-door houses for the photo shoots.
Vo Van Trung, an official from the Hoi An Information and Culture Center, also said that it is local photography studios who first came up with the idea.
“They may have realized the beauty of the ancient roofs and suggested their customers to pose there,” he added.
According to Trung, all of those controversial pictures shared on Facebook were taken a long time ago. It is now impossible to access these same roofs as fences have been erected on next-door houses.
|A robe fence is installed on a rooftop of an ancient house in Hoi An Town to prevent customers from climbing onto the roof of the next-door house. Photo: B.D / Tuoi Tre|
Hoi An was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage in 1999.
Climbing onto the roofs of the ancient houses in the old city is against regulations on heritage preservation laws, Trung said.
“The behavior not only threatens the safety of people involved in the photo shoots, but also causes certain harms to the state of ancient houses,” he underlined.
Fortunately, preliminary examination at houses involved in the controversy has showed no damage on the roofs, according to Trung.
Many coffee shops in the area have also installed barriers to prevent customers from stepping onto the roofs of next-door houses.
The Hoi An Information and Culture Center warned that prewedding photography teams that make their customers climb on ancient houses’ roof to pose for pictures will face stern penalties.
The center said it will give establishments and individuals providing photography services in the ancient town essential recommendations to ensure heritage preservation while serving their customers.
|A steel fence is installed on a rooftop of an ancient house in Hoi An Town to prevent customers from climbing onto the roof of the next-door house. Photo: B.D / Tuoi Tre|
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