Lying by the side of the Nhue River , Cu Da Village in Cu Khe Commune, Thanh Oai District, Ha Tay province, still retains the typical identities of an old Viet village.
Cu Da Village has lush green trees providing ample shade, old houses of Vietnamese architectural style and arch-shaped gates, all which give an image of a peaceful rural area. According to the elders, Cu Da Village has existed for hundreds of years. In the past, it was situated in a very favourable area, i.e., close to the town and river. It borders the former Ha Dong Town and near the busy area of Ke Cho in Hanoi. Traders in grain, rice and fabric used to go to Cu Da Village, making it a trade centre providing commodities and goods to the large area of Thang Long – Hanoi.
A lot of Cu Da villagers became millionaires and were very proud of their native place. Many of them went to other regions to do business or went abroad to settle.
When establishing a shop or a stall, they gave it a name that always included the word Cu. For example, the daughters of elder Cu Doanh and his wife Cu Chan had established several textile and garment workshops on Hang Quat Street , Hanoi and their brand names were well known domestically and internationally, paving the way for the textile sector in Vietnam .
Cu Da Village is also known for its preservation of hundreds of old Vietnamese houses. Trinh The Sung’s house at No.11, Dong Nhan Cat Hamlet is a good example. It virtually remains intact with the architecture of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945). The house was built in 1874 by Sung’s great grandfather and was called Nha Dai Khoa (House of pre-court competition-examination). Mainly made of precious wood, it has delicate carvings on the beams and columns, a roof of yin-yang tiles and wooden walls. In the middle of the house is the ancestral alter with red lacquered panels and couplets. The house is warm in winter and cool in summer.
The two storey house of Dinh Van Tuong’s family is at No. 152 in An Lac Hamlet, two lanes away from Dong Nhan Cat Hamlet. The front of the house looks into two directions, to the Nhue River and to the hamlet’s lane. The house is now more than 100 years old. Its first storey still has the original bas-reliefs with occidental patterns. Its uniqueness lies in the floor paved with small tiles and delicate decorative designs on the walls.
The oldest house in the village is owned by Hai Chieu which was built about 300 years ago. The columns and beams are full of the architectural style and fine arts of the Le Dynasty (18th century) while the archway and yard have changes.
It may be said that the old houses and villas are a part of the important cultural heritage of Cu Da Village.
Story by Nguyen Tan Long - Photos by Thanh Dat