Magnificent Sceneries of Âu Lạc (Vietnam): Đồng Văn Plateau & Hạ Long Bay (In Aulacese)    
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Today’s A Journey through Aesthetic Realms will be presented in Aulacese (Vietnamese), with subtitles in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

With a graceful terrain of an S-shaped curve, situated in the subtropical climate region of Southeast Asia, Âu Lạc (Vietnam) is endowed by Nature with myriad scenic attractions extending from north to south. Situated alongside 3,400 kilometers of the East Sea, Âu Lạc has hundreds of beaches known for their beauty such as Nha Trang, Vũng Tàu, Sầm Sơn, Hà Tiên, Sơn Trà, and Phan Thiết.

In 2005, Đà Nẵng Beach in Central Âu Lạc was selected as one of the six most enchanting beaches on Earth by Forbes Magazine. Near the southmost part of Âu Lạc, there are emerald water at Phú Quốc Beach, radiant golden sand at Long Beach, and sparkling white sand at Star Beach. Phú Quốc Beach was ranked first among the most beautiful and cleanest beaches in the world by Australia’s ABC News in 2008.

Rivers and mountains merge with the clouds, while pristine water reflecting mountain ranges. These have formed innumerable natural marvels such as Cát Bà Archipelago, with an intermixed ecosystem of sea and forest. In 2004, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized Cát Bà Archipelago as a biosphere reserve of the world. Cúc Phương National Park is a natural reserve with a very rich system of fauna and flora. Together with Hạ Long Bay, Phong Nha – Kẻ Bàng National Park, an acclaimed site of marvelous and magnificent caves, form a perfect painting and were also recognized as World Natural Heritages.

Besides the natural heritages, Âu Lạc has famous sites recognized by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritages such as Hội An Ancient Town, Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary, and the Complex of Huế Monuments. An abundant river system also creates attractive natural sights on water surface. Northern Âu Lạc is known for the Sword Lake, a natural freshwater lake which looks like an emerald gem in the midst of the city, and Ba Bể Lake, one of the 100 largest freshwater lakes in the world, recognized as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Heritage Parks in 2004.

Central Âu Lạc has the dreamy, gentle Perfume River, like a soft strand of silken fabric winding about weathered ancient mausoleums, palaces, citadels, and temples. In the South, the Mekong River with nine river mouths flowing into the sea, is a cherished image closely connected to the lush and prosperous alluvial delta. Wonderful masterpieces of nature have woven together to form the beautiful country of Âu Lạc. The Aulacese people are truly blessed to live on a land with many natural wonders benevolently granted by the Creator.

Azure sky and sunshine begin the day

Beautiful Âu Lạc has vast green fields

Listen to the sound of the Pacific Ocean

As the waves gently caress the land with love.

Take joy in our peaceful country

and in the cozy house at sunset.

Day after day, morning and night

We work hard to cultivate our fields

Green paddies turn into golden rice

O friends, loyal is our nation!

Loyal are we to our land.

We’re home now. What shall we do? Cultivate rice fields and orchards diligently.

This afternoon, in the sky and cloud

Behind the trees, egrets soar with joy

Looking at our motherland, I feel such love

An ardent love

for this country.

Azure sky and sunshine begin the day

Beautiful Âu Lạc has vast green fields

Listen to the sound of Pacific Ocean

As the waves gently caresses the land with love.

Take joy in our peaceful country

and in the cozy house at sunset.

Day after day, morning and night

We work hard to cultivate our fields

Green paddies turn into golden rice

O friends, loyal is our nation!

Loyal are we to our land.

We’ve home now, what shall we do? Cultivate ricefields and orchards diligently.

This afternoon, in the sky and cloud,

Behind the trees, egrets soar with joy

Looking at motherland, I feel such a love

An ardent love

for this country.

O friends, loyal is our nation!

Loyal are we to our land.

O friends, loyal is our nation!

Loyal are we to our land.

You’ve just enjoyed the song “Loyal is Our Nation,” by composer Y Vân, with vocals and dance accompaniment by our vegan Association members. “Loyal is Our Nation” is a song of affection for the country of Âu Lạc, an ardent love closely connected to the beautiful nature and peaceful life.

In today’s program, we invite you to visit two beautiful sites in northern Âu Lạc (Vietnam), recognized by UNESCO as world scenic spots – namely, Đồng Văn Plateau and Hạ Long Bay.

Đồng Văn is in Hà Giang Province, a northernmost land of Âu Lạc. At the height of 1,400 meters above sea level, with cool climate and verdant plants, Đồng Văn Plateau contains mysteries and marvelous evidence of the history of habitat development on Earth hundreds of million years ago.

Đồng Văn Plateau is called Stone Plateau because the terrain here is covered with various kinds of stones. Coming to Đồng Văn, we are able to admire a world of stone: stretches of stone mountains, vast stone fields, stone pyramids, stone gardens, stone forests, stone animals, stone plants… The entire plateau is covered with stones.

A dreamlike river winds about, its banks vertical stone cliffs; cozy houses with lingering smoke at sunset are surrounded by countless small stones. Stones, stones, and stones. Life is magical. From crevices in stones or on tiny patches of land among the stones, plants are still growing lush. One may see a glimpse of a young man plowing in his field halfway up a stone mountain.

With the geoheritage of international standard and rich cultural traditions, in 2010, Đồng Văn Plateau was recognized by UNESCO as a world geological park and as the first global geopark in Âu Lạc. Đồng Văn Plateau has very rich geoheritages such as those of tectonics and geomorphology, which have left a very vibrant natural museum illustrating changes of the Earth's crust.

The geological process spanning hundreds of millions of years has created interesting landscapes: vertical cliffs, river stone steps, mysterious caves, and stone slopes, while cliffs and valleys have formed deep canyons. Palaeobiological heritage and palaeo-environmental heritage give us the image of the environment in the past and the Earth’s evolution about 540 million years ago: Brachiopod fossils at Ma Lé Commune near Lũng Cú have shown the presence of palaeobiological species at inshore shallow waters.

Trilobite fossils at Lũng Cú have proven that the age of Long Mountain, Lũng Cú is about 500 million years. Fusulinid fossils which have been found behind Đồng Văn ancient market are stones created by the accumulation of lifeless fusulinids. Fusulinid fossils are very beautiful; they can be used to make valuable fine handicrafts.

There are many other fossils in Đồng Văn Plateau as evidence of life hundreds of millions of years ago. That life has disappeared, according to scientists, due to global climate change which causes an unexpected change of habitat. This is a precious lesson for us to preserve life on our beautiful Earth today. Đồng Văn Stone Park contains not only stones but also shows the importance of biodiversity with its very rich fauna and flora.

Du Già Nature Reserve is a wildlife-friendly environment with more than 50 animal and bird species, especially the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey, a species that exists only here. More than 20 kilometers from Đồng Văn Town, Lũng Cú is a northernmost land of Âu Lạc. From Lũng Cú, we can contemplate the impressive beauty of mountain chains, the peace of mountain villages.

There was a very fine legend about Lũng Cú’s origin. Once upon a time, a sacred dragon came to stay on the highest mountain of this land. The place where the dragon resided was Dragon Residence, later renamed as Lũng Cú. The dragon was very fond of the beautiful scenery, yet it had to return to Heaven because this place was very short of water.

The dragon left its eyes, which created 2 sacred wells always full of clear water year-round. Local people use this water for daily activities. Mã Pì Lèng pass is difficult and perilous to access, but very rich in geological heritage. Tu Sản canyon is 700 to 800 meters deep, 1.7 kilometers long with vertical cliffs. Standing on the peak of Mã Pì Lèng, one feels as if the blue sky is reachable.

On the other hand, looking down the abyss, one feels so tiny before the Creator’s mysterious and immense power. Mã Pì Lèng is a glorious sight named “The First Magnificent Scenery” of Đồng Văn Plateau. Đồng Văn Plateau also has very attractive areas such as “stone garden,” “stone forest,” and “stone beach.” The stone garden has interesting images. Stone tops have images of flowers, buds, and twigs in diversified shapes, as if an entire flower garden turned into stones.

At the stone forest, every stone top or rock top looks like a coiling dragon or crouching tiger. The stone beach amazed people with layers of flagstones side by side like thousands of shiny black seals leaning against one another to rest on a peaceful beach. All these wonders of Đồng Văn Plateau have become more lively with its inhabitants of 17 ethnic minority groups such as Hmông, Giáy, Dao, Tày, Lô Lô, Cờ Lao, Pu Péo, and Cao Lan, each having its own cultural characteristics.

Cultural interactions among the ethnic groups have created diversity in the park. The highland’s culture has come into being through the process of adapting to the environment. The customs and folk tunes of the ethnic groups have blended beautifully with the majestic scenery. The ancient town of Đồng Văn, founded in the late 19th century, is a trade center of the Stone Plateau. Antique houses have their unique architectural beauty. The bazaar is a gem of beauty in the Plateau’s culture.

The bazaar is a place to exchange homemade items for necessities. It is also a place for friends to meet after harvest or to exchange heartfelt stories. Coming to the Plateau bazaar, one can view the bright colors of brocade in the costumes of ethnic young women, enjoy the folk music infused in the ambience of mountains, and feel the rhythm of life here. Gazing at the millions of stone tops side by side, quiet and pensive, one feels as if since time immemorial, this was the land of spiritual practitioners, with millions of people meditating on the vast plateau.

Hạ Long Bay, a small bay in the Gulf of northern Âu Lạc, is a natural wonder amid the high sea. Looking down from above, Hạ Long Bay is thousands of stone islands in diversified shapes, rising and falling with the waves like a vast watercolor painting. According to scientists, a tectonic process lasting about 500 million years had created Hạ Long Bay with 1969 stone islands, both large and small.

Among them, there is a dense archipelago comprised of 775 islands, called the Heart of the Bay. The Aulacese consider themselves progenies of the Dragon and the Fairy. Thus, legend has it that once upon a time, the Jade Emperor ordered Mother Dragon to descend upon Earth with her Young Dragons, to help people in Âu Lạc build their lives. Seeing this place being plagued often with violent storms, the dragons spat out numerous pearls which turned into thousands of stone islands at sea, acting like firm walls to stop big waves and strong winds.

Since then, the land started to be calm with verdant plants, and humans started to live in peace and happiness. The place where Mother Dragon descended is now Hạ Long, where the Young Dragons descended is Bái Tử Long and where the dragons whisked their tails making the water very white is Bạch Long Vỹ. With such magnificent and unique beauty, Hạ Long Bay has twice been recognized by UNESCO as World Natural Heritage. Sailing amid Hạ Long Bay, one feels as if in a maze of a gigantic park, a legendary garden with myriad fossilized characters.

Human Head Islet looks like a face gazing intently at the mainland. Incense Burner Islet is like a giant incense burner amid the vast sea. Rooster and Hen Islet resembles a cute couple of a rooster and hen. In addition, there are Turtle Islet, Horse Saddle Islet, and so on. Ngọc Vừng (Dazzling Pearl) Island is surrounded by many fine beaches. In olden days, this area had a lot of pearls which kept the entire airspace shining brightly, thus it is called Ngọc Vừng Island.

Cát Nàng Island has a lovely crescent-shaped beach. Climbing the mountain and bathing at Cát Nàng Island are surely delightful activities. The cave system at Hạ Long Bay is also very rich and splendid. Cave of Amazement, one of the most beautiful caves in Hạ Long Bay, is so named because the cave’s beauty astounds people. Passing a small path, the cave suddenly opens wide. Stalactites from the cave’s roof look like groups of bright spotlights.

The scene is like a theater company performing a fairy tale with many lively characters. Celestial Palace Cave is on Đầu Gỗ Island. The cave wall is high and vertical, on it many relievos are engraved with various unusual shapes. Through the Creator’s miraculous hand, tucked inside the mountain is a scenery just like an opulent palace. Virgin Cave is a very dreamlike small cave. Legend has it that there was a beautiful girl whose lover was a gentle young man. Due to poverty, she worked for hire for a landlord who forced her to be his wife.

When she declined, he became angry and banished her to a desert island. On a rainy night, hungry, exhausted, and missing her love, the young woman turned into a stone. That same night, the young man rowed a boat to look for her in the sea. A storm broke his boat, and he was swept to the island. Standing on the island, he called her name until he, too, turned into stone. At Virgin Cave, there is a limestone statue of a young woman standing with hair streaming down, looking towards the mainland.

Opposite that is the Male Grotto, with a limestone statue of a young man looking towards the Virgin Cave, as if it’s nature’s testament of a faithful love. Hạ Long Bay not only has forests, seas, beautiful islands and interesting caves but also maintains the values of an ancient culture. The Hạ Long Culture with its habits and customs has been formed since thousands of years through adapting to the oceanic living environment. During moonlit nights and calm sea, the mythical fossilized characters on Hạ Long Bay now and then appear, then disappear, as if in a world of legends from long ago.

Thank you for your company on today’s program featuring some famous sites in northern Âu Lạc (Vietnam). Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television. May Earth’s glorious beauty last forever through humans’ compassionate lifestyle. Up next is Vegetarianism: The Noble Way of Living, right after Noteworthy News. Farewell for now.
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October . 2020