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DALAT: RELICS OF GOLDEN AGE

Dalat Guide     In 1897, Dr. Yersin discovered the Lang-Bian plateau and after Governor Paul Doumer paid the first visit, the Governor decided to create a sanitarium for all europeans. Then in April, 1899, a special mission called "Mission du Lang-Bian had been assigned to Captain Guynet for building a route from Lang-Bian to coastal area (port of Ninh Chu, near Phan Rang). However, the physician of the expedition, Dr. Tardif choose Dalat rather than Dankia (an area near Dalat, today known as Suoi Vang) as the developmen project for future sanitarium.

Unfortunately, for many different reasons, the project had been canceled. Until 1916 Governor Roume accepted a necessary fund for the development of the high land resort. The construction of the route for automobile was also an advantage that speeded up the project, especially the complete building of the "Grand Hotel" and a second one with more lodges and later private and official Villas. Thus, in 1931 Dalat has been established as a small village, nice and clean where the healthy life had been assured. More over, to get the better and convenient access to Lang-Bian plateau for everyone, The French colonial administration also started a parallel project (from 1903 till 132) of building a cog railway Tourcham - Dalat, which consisted of 84 km with 5 tunnels and 3 cog rack sections (chemin de fer a cremaillere). Winding through beautiful pine forest, green hills and spectacular passes, the rail way afterward became one of the two magnificent cog railways with Abt system in the world and as a heritage of the French Indochina era.

After April 1975, most affluent people of Dalat had gone, then the common Lang-Bian natives also fled when the Red scare became a real nightmare and life turned out to be so tough at an isolated resort, which once was a dream land. With the massive influx of new "pioneers" from the North, Dalat has changed its image and cultural ambience forever since private estates were confiscated; public lands seized at will and the pristine pine forest chopped down for whatever project or personal gain.

Today, foreign visitors can visit the salubrious weather resort and contemplate at some historic buildings, which due to official landmark have been recently restored and maintained; but if strolling deep into the old streets of the city, they will encounter the old ghosts of the forgotten past: The old villas neglected with lost time. And if you are interested in Architecture and have keen eyes, even in shabby and dilapidated condition those "Relics" still look elegant with the French colonial traits and they reminisce so much about the nostalgia of the golden era of Dalat that the old "Dalataires" now called "The Lost Shangrila."

(Most photos and part of the text translated from BelleIndochine)

OLD VILLAS OF DALAT
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa

When arriving in Dalat, most tourists would stay in 5 or 4 star hotels, dinned at classy restaurants, and visited the scenic landmarks where they could take a lot of beautiful pictures. With tight traveling schedules, many didn't have enough time to cover all points of interest, much less venturing into the heart of Dalat city. In case you may have missed, here are a few images of Dalat that exposed the real lives of local people.

DALAT'S REAL LIFE IMAGES
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa

DALAT LANDMARK & BUILDINGS: THEN & NOW
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Waterfall Waterfall
Waterfall Waterfall Waterfall Waterfall

Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa
Dalat Villa Dalat Villa Dalat Villa

More Courtney Utt's photos can be seen at this link: Dalat Then & Now Photos

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