Kazik and the stories of heritage restoration


(QNO) - Kazimierz Kwiatkowski (1944-1997) (also called Kazik) was a Polish architect, who first broke two Quang Nam’s world cultural heritages- Hoi An and My Son open 20 years ago.

Kazik and My Son Sanctuary
Kazik and My Son Sanctuary

He was appointed as Head of the expert team who restored Cu Chi tunnel (Ho Chi Minh city) and Cham towers in central Vietnam under the Vietnam-Poland cooperation programme signed in 1980.

Kazik in the old men’s stories

My Son Sanctuary was in ruins after time and wars until Kazik’s appearance in 1980s. He was very impressive to Mr. Nguyen Dinh An (Former Vice Chairman of Quang Nam-Danang provincial People’s Committee at that time) for his sincerity and talent.

Kazik was sciential and dedicated in the memory of Prof. Dr. Hoang Dao Kinh (ex-Director of Vietnam Institute for Conservation of Monuments, ex-Director of the Central Restoration of Monuments Enterprise). He lived and worked as simply as a Vietnamese farmer. Similarly, Mr.Cao Thanh- a building worker spending 5 years restoring My Son towers with Polish experts said that Kazik was amiable and good-natured; he loved everything at the ruins, even a piece of broken brick.

Kazik’s heritages

Kazik has gone; but what he and his Polish expert delegation left is a priceless property including thousands of pages of documents, technical drawings, photographs, sketches and the methods of monument restoration. According to Chief of the Institute for Monument Conservation Secretariat Nguyen The Dai, the Vietnamese began to get used to the scientific methods of monuments conservation and restoration when they were working with the Polish experts. Besides, Kazik left a work diary in which daily working activities and items were recorded meticulously. These documents have lasting scientific values, helping our future generation keep on these conservation and restoration.

Visitors at My Son Sanctuary (Photo by Vu Cong Dien)
Visitors at My Son Sanctuary (by Vu Cong Dien)

According to Former Chairman of Duy Xuyen district people’s committee Nguyen Van Hien, Kazik saved My Son towers from the risk of disappearance. There would not be any heritages here without Kazik. Shared the same opinion, painter Nguyen Thuong Hy said that Kazik was very well-versed in ancient architecture, especially protecting the wood structure in Hoi An ancient town, helping Hoi An to be in the UNESCO heritage list.

Mission and destiny

Kazik loved Vietnam and devoted the rest of his life to Cham towers (My Son Sanctuary included) and other cultural heritages in central Vietnam. He refused to go to richer countries and took on his mission in Vietnam, where he passed away in 1997 as a destiny. During his life, Kazik considered cultural heritage restoration and conservation as his duty. He had a great contribution to bringing Hoi An ancient town, My Son Sanctuary and Hue citadel to the world cultural heritages.

Although Kazik has gone, he is always in the memory of his friends, co-workers and people in central Vietnam. He is always in the appearance of beauty.