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Kärcher finishes preservation project in Hue

Released at: 16:54, 23/04/2019

Kärcher finishes preservation project in Hue

The cleaning at the imperial city's gate (Photo: Kärcher)

German company helps preserve former imperial capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

by Le Diem

Kärcher, a leading German supplier of cleaning technology worldwide, will hold a handover ceremony on April 26 for a cleaning project it recently wrapped up in the former imperial capital of Hue, in the presence of German Ambassador H.E. Christian Berger and representatives from Thua Thien Hue province.

As part of its cultural sponsorship, Kärcher cleaned the main southern gateway in Hue in March. Over the decades, Vietnam’s tropical climate, with plenty of rain and high humidity, led to the original color of the brickwork and grey limestone being covered in dark organic vegetation, which damages the façade’s surface in the long term. Kärcher’s cleaning experts removed these deposits from Noon Gate, which was erected in 1804 and is the largest of the four main gates that frame the imperial city.

To clean the gateway, its experts used a gentle steam setting at a surface pressure of 0.5 to 1 bar and a temperature of up to 100C. Four hot water, high-pressure cleaners generate steam that removes algae, moss, fungi, lichens, and bacteria. Absolutely no chemicals are needed. This type of cleaning also delays the growth of new biogenic vegetation, as the steam’s high temperature destroys deeper-seated spores. “Hot steam cleaning is the most effective and harmless method for looking after and preserving mineral building substances, especially in tropical Hue,” said Ms. Andrea Teufel, a restorer at the Society for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (CPCE) in Hue. “The cleaning of the Noon Gate was a convincing start.”

Hue was the capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty, which lasted from 1804 to 1945. It was built by Emperor Gia Long based on the model of the Forbidden City in Beijing, and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. Most of its buildings were badly damaged during the American War. The South Gate is one of the best-preserved buildings and was reserved for exclusive use by the Emperor. Today it is the entrance gate for visitors.

Vietnam’s cultural heritage is of special importance to its people. Thus, a particularly careful and gentle approach was important for the cleaning work, which sustainably contributes to the monument’s preservation. A natural ageing process and increasing patina, however, is part of the valuable features of monuments and historical buildings. “Cleaning does not deprive the monument of its original character, but contributes to ensuring that future generations will also be able to see and experience its beauty,” said Mr. Thorsten Möwes, a cleaning expert at Kärcher who was responsible for performing the work at the gateway.

The family-owned Kärcher employs more than 13,000 people in over 110 companies across 70 countries. More than 50,000 service points ensure reliable supply for customers throughout the world. With 2.525 billion euros in 2018, Kärcher earned the highest turnover in the company’s history. Its product range includes high-pressure cleaners, vacuum cleaners and steam cleaners, window cleaners, sweepers and scrubbers, car washes, drinking water and waste water treatment systems, dry ice blasting machines, cleaning agents, garden and household pumps, irrigation systems, and drinking water dispensers.

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