BAC GIANG - The Complex of Yen Tu - Vinh Nghiem - Con Son, Kiep Bac Monuments and Landscapes is a chain of cultural landscapes in the three provinces of Quang Ninh, Bac Giang and Hai Duong.
The complex has 32 relic sites belonging to 18 clusters of six special national relic sites, including two in Bac Giang province namely Vinh Nghiem Pagoda and Bo Da Pagoda.
A delegation of the Vietnam Archaeological Association inspects the excavation work at Cao Pagoda, Kham Lang commune, Luc Nam district.
This land in Bac Giang is the birthplace of Vietnam's unique Truc Lam Zen sect. King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong founded Truc Lam Buddhism, creating a premise for Zen masters, monks and nuns to come here to practice their religion, write scriptures and stories, compose poetry, attain enlightenment and enter Nirvana.
The scientific dossier on "Complex of Yen Tu - Vinh Nghiem - Con Son, Kiep Bac Monuments and Landscapes" submitted to UNESCO for recognition as a world heritage site is a research work of particularly important value. The preparation of this profile has been implemented since 2013.
Since 2020, the three provinces of Quang Ninh, Bac Giang, and Hai Duong have simultaneously deployed methods to research, prove, synthesize, and clarify the value of the complex. In particular, six international conferences and seminars were organized to determine its outstanding global value.
Many scientific research projects on culture and history; monument - landscape architectural system; geological - geomorphological values and biodiversity in the three provinces have been carried out.
To continue consolidating documents to serve the profile completion, the provinces conducted archaeological excavations at nine relic sites, including five in Quang Ninh (An Sinh Temple, Am Hoa Pagoda and Trai Cap Pagoda in Dong Trieu town and Am Thung and Bao Dai Pagodas in Uong Bi city); three in Bac Giang (Dam Tri, Ho Bac and Cao Pagodas in Luc Nam district); and one in Hai Duong (Thanh Mai Pagoda in Chi Linh city).
Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in Yen Dung district and Bo Da Pagoda in Tien Son commune, Viet Yen district are two relic sites in Bac Giang selected to be included in the profile.
During the journey of building the profile to submit to UNESCO, Bac Giang province organized three archaeological excavations at three pagodas on the western slope of Yen Tu Mountain, including Dam Tri Pagoda (Luc Son commune), Ho Bac Pagoda (Nghia Phuong commune) and Cao Pagoda (Kham Lang commune), all in Luc Nam district.
With the unearthed traces, experts confirm that Dam Tri Pagoda was built during the Tran Dynasty under the Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen sect founded by King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong.
Historical data shows that Ho Bac Pagoda has a very important position in the Huyen Dinh - Yen Tu system. This is considered the transit point of two pilgrimage routes to Yen Tu Peak: The Western route from Vinh Nghiem Pagoda and the Eastern route from Thanh Mai Pagoda (Chi Linh, Hai Duong). Both routes meet at Ho Bac Pagoda.
In 2022, archaeologists, after finishing an excavation on an area of 500sq.m at Cao Pagoda, identified three architectural works of the Ly Dynasty, characterized by column foundations reinforced with ceramics, tiles and clay, with the structures similar to the Ly Dynasty column foundations found at Thang Long Imperial Citadel and other Ly Dynasty pagodas.
The existing system of monuments belonging to the two special national relic sites of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda and Bo Da Pagoda, combined with the results of the three archaeological excavations mentioned above, has contributed to providing objective and comprehensive documents as a basis for an overall assessment of the historical - cultural values of the monuments in the context of the formation and development of the Truc Lam Yen Tu Buddhism relic system, contributing to the profile on the Complex of Yen Tu - Vinh Nghiem - Con Son, Kiep Bac Monuments and Landscapes" submitted to UNESCO for recognition as a world heritage site.