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Cu Da – 500-year-old village in Vietnam

A house gate in the old village of Cu Da, Ha Tay province

Boasting an archway, brick roads and many houses dating back hundreds of years, Cu Da village in Thanh Oai district of northern Ha Tay province is a perfect example of an ancient Vietnam village.

The village is located on the bank of the Nhue river, about 35 km southeast of Hanoi. The river was once busy with ships and boats carrying goods, including rice, salt, cotton and fabric to surrounding towns and business centres such as Pho Hien (now Hung Yen province) and Ha Dong.

Cu Da village is famous for having hundreds of ancient houses built in different stages, with the oldest constructed during the Le dynasty some 300 years ago.

Trinh The Sung, the owner of an intact ancient house in Dong Nhan Cat hamlet, said his house was built in 1874 mainly with timber, including even its walls. The house features the typical architectural art of the Nguyen dynasty with sophisticated patterns on beams and pillars.

Apart from ancient wood houses, Cu Da villagers are proud of the many European-style villas which were built in the 1920s when the village had access to electricity. Despite weather and time, patterns in bold relief on many villas’ walls as well as stone foundations remain intact.

The villagers used to specialise in weaving and trading fabric, but many of them have now turned to making soy sauce and vermicelli. These new occupations, together with an increasing population, are reasons behind the growing demand for land in the village. As a result, many local people have completely destroyed their ancient houses or French-style villas in order to build production establishments.

It is hoped that Cu Da villagers will take full advantage of their existing ancient houses to develop tourism as those in the ancient town of Hoi An in central Quang Nam province have done.

Nhan Dan - (17/03/2006)

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