Traveling to Yên Tử (North Vietnam). Religious Resurgence, Cultural Nationalism and Touristic Heritage in the Shaping of a Pilgrimage Landscape.
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/12539
First published on GoeScholar 2015
DORISEA working paper; 20
Yên Tử, a well-known “Sacred Mountain” in northeastern Vietnam, is surrounded by primeval forest with plentiful and diverse flora. The attribution of sacred or mystical qualities to Yên Tử has a long tradition, with the mountain providing a symbol of cosmic order in Vietnamese Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. Since Vietnam’s government launched its open-door policy in the late 1980s, the pilgrimage centre has been given official recognition by the Ministry of Culture as a national cultural heritage site. Recently, through the construction of a cable-car system carrying pilgrims – and tourists – to the top, Yên Tử has also become one of the ‘must do’ things for local and global “pilgrim-tourists”, attracting over one million visitors since 2009. Looking at the pilgrimage site as a multidimensional arena, this paper focuses on the negotiation of agendas between wealth, merit-making, ‘touristification’ and political certification of national culture and heritage in contemporary Vietnam (and beyond).