Trang An Landscape Complex in Ninh Binh Province in northern Vietnam was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in late June 2014, the country’s first site to be acknowledged as a mixed natural and cultural heritage.
About Trang An Landscape Complex
Trang An Landscape Complex covers an area of 6,172 ha in district of Hoa Lu, Gia Vien, Nho Quan, Tam Diep Town and Ninh Binh City, about 90km to the southeast of Hanoi. The heritage is surrounded by a buffer zone of 6,268 ha, mostly comprising paddy rice fields and villages. As a mixed cultural and natural property, Trang An Landscape Complex contains three protected areas, including Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel Cultural – Historical Area; Trang An – Tam Coc – Bich Dong Scenic Area and Hoa Lu Special-Use Primary Forest.
Located in the humid tropical region, Trang An Landscape Complex is a mountainous area that extends in a northwest-southeast direction. To the north and northwest of Trang An are 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 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.
Nestled on the southern shore of the Red River Delta, Trang An is a resplendent complex of limestone karst peaks permeated by valleys, including submerged ones, and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs.
Archaeological traces of human activity dating back almost 30,000 years have been found within the complex.
The heritage also consists of temples, pagodas, paddy fields, villages, and other sacred sites.
It has around 500 species of flora, 73 species of birds and 41 species of other animals, and is renowned for its diverse ecosystem, unique natural beauty and geological characteristics.