A number of cultural and historical relics in Da Lat will be upgraded for tourism purposes. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has spent more than VND45 billion (US$2.2 million) to upgrade the Da Lat Teachers’ College, Railway Station and Children’s Prison, which are all in disrepair.
The college was originally a French public secondary school known as Yersin High School when it was founded in 1933 until the liberation of the south of Viet Nam in 1975.
Yersin is a French doctor who discovered Da Lat and established it as a destination for vacationers.
After 1975, the school became the Da Lat Teachers’ College and currently has more than 2,000 students, many of them of ethnic groups.
Built in 1932 and completed in 1938, the railway station is another of Da Lat’s attractions, featuring French architecture. The station, which linked Da Lat with Nha Trang, closed in 1972 because of the American War.
It re-opened a decade ago, transporting tourists on the country’s shortest rail route, only 7km, from Da Lat to Trai Mat Village.
The station and the college were built by French architects with construction materials brought from France. They became national cultural relics in 2001.
“The architecture of the two buildings must be kept intact during repair,” said Nguyen The Hung, director of the Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
“New bricks or materials used in repair must be in harmony with old ones,” Hung said.
The railway station and the college will have their roofs, floors and corridors upgraded.
The Da Lat Children’s Prison was set up in 1971 by the Sai Gon regime. It kept more than 600 young revolutionary soldiers, including 200 girls, from 1971 to 1973. Many prisoners were jailed at the age of 12.
The Sai Gon regime was forced to close the prison in June 1973 after several uprisings of the young prisoners.
The prison was officially recognised as a relic in 2009.