SOME GULFS AND BAYS 9

Cai Beo Culture (7000-5000 BC) should be mentioned because it is a transitional culture between the preceding Soi Nhu Culture and the following Ha Long Culture. The main archaeological sites of Cai Beo Culture are located on the islands of Cat Ba (of Hai Phong) and Giap Khau and Ha Gian (of Ha Long Bay). Cai Beo Culture shows the early struggle of the ancient Viet people with the sea. It also proves the integration of Cai Beo Culture into the general culture of Viet Nam and Southeast Asia, characterized by stone tools. Cai Beo ancient people lived not only on hunting and gathering but also on exploiting sea products.
All Soi Nhu, Cai Beo and Ha Long Cultures, which were developed in the early historical period in Ha Long Bay, are certainly significant in proving that Ha Long Bay and adjacent areas once were a cradle of the general culture of mankind. But specific features of this general culture have not yet been comprehensively interpreted. Archaeological surveys in recent years have gained still surprising results. One of them is the discovery of the Dong Trong archaeological site in 2006, in which archaeologists discovered bones of prehistoric men, stone axes, pieces of pottery, sediments of mollusks used as food for prehistoric men and hundreds of bead strings made from snail shells. Dong Trong is one of the three archaeological sites in Ha Long Bay where bones of prehistoric men were found.
Van Don commercial port of Ha Long Bay has been famous since the 12th century. It is much associated with the national construction of Viet Nam. The many earth and rock islands in Van Don are arranged in horizontal and vertical directions. They split the sea into some deep channels and areas well sheltered from the wind. Ships may safely anchor here and are not threatened by storms. Hence Van Don was a busy international trade port in the region.
Bai Tho Mountain in Ha Long Bay is also a historic site. On this mountain is carved a poem in Chinese by King Le Thanh Tong in 1468 while he was touring in the Eastern Sea region of Viet Nam. Lord Trinh Cuong also autographed this mountain in 1729. In the western coast of the bay is the Bai Chay ground (burning ground) associated with General Tran Khanh Du of the Tran dynasty who led a troop that burned a fleet of food ships of the Yuan-Mongolian Army. The burnt ships drifted onto the banks and set a whole forest on fire. Not far from the bay is the estuary of the Bach Dang River, where two great battles against northern aggressors took place. Hundreds of islands, caves and stalactites in Ha Long Bay are named after local myths and legends.
The fishermen of Cua Van fishing village of Ha Long Bay still perform the traditional songs of sea workers, wedding songs and “Dum” group singing (a form of love duet). Wedding songs of Ha Long are exactly as lyrical as Quan Ho songs. The wedding ceremony of fishermen is also very special because it is held only on the full moon day. On this day the numbers of fish in the bay are at their least and fishermen stay home to organize a wedding.
Ha Long Bay is fully capable of developing forms of the tourist economy because it has exceptional values of landscape, geology and geomorphology. Moreover, Ha Long Bay is the center of a greater area including Bai Tu Long Bay in the northeast and Cat Ba harbor and Lan Ha harbor in the southwest.
Scientific research is carried out in Ha Long Bay. In Ha Long Bay tourists may enjoy sightseeing, sea swimming, sailing, parachuting, fishing and diving into coral reefs. On the boats they may watch wonderful dawns and sunsets on the bay. At night they may watch fishermen catching cutlefish from rods. In the coming years, the tourism branch will open more tourist routes, destinations and other types of tourism. It is expected that Quang Ninh province will be one of the largest tourist destinations of the country. Along with Nha Trang Bay, Ha Long Bay of Quang Ninh province will be one of the two most beautiful bays of Viet Nam. International tourist vessels will regularly stay in Ha Long Bay to visit the sea and islands.
As a closed bay, Ha Long Bay is little influenced by sea waves and wind. It has a density of natural canals. Estuaries are little filled up by alluvial sediment. This facilitates the construction of large seaports along with the Cai Lan deep¬water port (of Ha Long Bay) and Cua Ong deep-water port (of Cam Pha). Quang Ninh province also has accessory ports such as Mui Chua, Van Gia and Nam Cau Trang.
In addition, Ha Long Bay and the sea areas of Quang Ninh province contain lots of ecosystems with valuable biodiversity and large reserves of sea products. The bay is adequate for raising and exploiting sea products thanks to good climate, large tidal areas and clean water. Offshore and inshore fisheries are highly productive, where there are lots of fish types and other sea animals such as e.fuscoguttatus, rachycentron canadum, blood cockle, shrimp, abalone, haliotidae snails and so forth. This is great potential for the economic, cultural and social development of Ha Long Bay.
On 17 December 1994, at the 18th session in Thailand, the World Heritage Committee recognized Ha Long Bay as a world heritage of exceptional global aesthetic values (by Criterion vii). This recognition was pursuant to the standards of the International Convention on the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritages of the World.
On 2 December 2000, at its 24th Conference in the City of Cairns (Queensland, Australia), the World Heritage Committee recognized Ha Long Bay as a world heritage for the second time, according to Criterion viii regarding values of geology and geomorphology. The recognition was pursuant to the International Convention on the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritages of the World, and pursuant to outputs of the approval of the Geological Records of Ha Long Bay.

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