The three ancient villages in Hanoi’s suburbs
The three ancient villages in Hanoi’s suburbs
Visiting the old villages of a few hundred years old, you will enjoy the quiet spaces of the countryside and discover the traditional architecture of Vietnam.
Uoc Le Village
The Village of Uoc Le in Thanh Oai District is not only known for its traditional product of pork pies, but also for its ancient village gate.
Before the village entrance is an arched bridge of over 2 meters wide, 10 meters long, spanning a wide ditch. Previously, the ditch was a deep trench surrounding the village, with bamboo trees on the bank. The ditch and the bamboo trees created a high wall protecting the village from robbers. Later, the villagers opened many tracks to the field.
On the village gate is the wood board with the script "My Tuc Kha Phong" (good traditions). In 1880, Emperor Tu Duc went on an inspection tour in the north and bestowed this noble title on six villages of Ha Tay Province (part of Hanoi today), including Uoc Le.
Uoc Le still has many ancient architectural works.
An old well in the village.
Cu Da Village
About 15 km to the west of Hanoi center is the village of Cu Da. The old village is situated on the bank of the Nhue River, in Thanh Oai District. Beside the old gates, temples, and communal houses that are national relics, many old houses in the village are still in their original condition after more than 100 years.
Cu Da is known as the "village of entrepreneurs". Since the early 19th century, many villagers went to Hanoi to do business. After getting wealthy, they returned to Cu Da to build beautiful houses. Cu Da is also known as the first and only ancient village in Vietnam with numbered houses, and nameplates for every alley and hamlets in the city.
The most famous product of Cu Da is its soybean sauce. This is the oldest profession of the village. The villagers process soybean sauce from sticky rice, soybeans, white salt and rain water.
All roads lead to the riverbank.
Houses in Cu Da were designed in Western style, with two storeys, balconies and mosaic facade.
Dong Ngac Village
Located about 10 km from downtown Hanoi, near the legendary Red River, Dong Ngac Village (formerly known as Ke Ve) in Tu Liem District is worth a visit to discover the well-preserved traces of its past that separate it from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
The village is well known for being home of many high-ranking mandarins during the feudal period in Vietnam. As such, visiting the village offers you a special chance to learn more about the traditional fondness of studying Vietnamese.
The village is famous for its large-scale communal house which is a solemn place where the village’s most important events take place. It has been in place for about 500 years and is the first thing to catch the eyes of visitors. The communal house displays a wide collection of ancient relics dating back hundreds of years such as a set of ancient paintings from the Le Dynasty (1427 – 1788) which depict the bumper harvests and peaceful, prosperous life of people and eight paintings praising the vocations of fishery, forestry, fabric weaving, husbandry, teaching, farming, handicraft and trading.
There is also another trait of the past which is the old pagoda called Tu Khanh, known in the past as Ve Pagoda. Even after hundreds of years the pagoda retains its belltower, a three-door temple gate and the forecourt. Its statues are believed to contain artistic elements from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Another village attraction is an ancestral house that honors Do The Giai, a senior official from the Le – Trinh era (The Trinh were the noble family that dominated northern Vietnam during most of the Ly Dynasty, from 1428 to 1788). Visiting the house, you will have chance to listen to many interesting stories about the village from the host. Time has touched the ancestral house, but its cultural value remains.
In these days can still see many engravings on the old gates in Dong Ngac. And in most ancestral houses there are parallel sentences written in Chinese characters, showing that elders in the village continually remind the younger generation of the importance of study and acquiring further knowledge.
Dong Ngac, like many other villages in Vietnam, is moving forward with the pace of development. But traces of the past can still be seen here – in the old bricks on the narrow paths around the village and the stones in the pagoda.
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