VietNamNet Bridge – The ancient village of Dong Hoa Hiep in Cai Be District, Tien Giang Province in southern Vietnam is well known for its beautiful scenery formed by the calm Cai Be River and ancient houses amid orchards that are lush and laden with fruit all year round.
|The ancient house owned by Phan Van Duc in Dong Hoa Hiep Village was built in 1850.|
Along with two other ancient villages of Duong Lam in Hanoi and Phuoc Tich in Hue, Dong Hoa Hiep Village has been selected and invested in to develop into a countryside tourism model by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The way the houses were designed in Dong Hoa Hiep Village is different from that of those, which were in close proximity to each other in Duong Lam and Phuoc Tich Villages.
Dong Hoa Hiep has a poetic landscape with ancient houses dotted in lush orchards that are surrounded by the winding Cai Be River. Visiting the village, tourists enjoy pure air and the peaceful scenery while rowing boats on the river or taking a stroll on paths running through shady orchards.
One of the destinations that has left a vivid impression on tourists to Dong Hoa Hiep Village is the ancient house owned by Tran Tuan Kiet in Dong Hoa Hiep Commune.
It was built around 1838 with 108 pillars made of xylia xylocarpa, a valuable and rare wood, amid a 1.8ha orchard.
The house was designed in the architectural style of southern garden houses with five large rooms, covering 1,000m2. Despite the devastation of time, the house has been preserved intact with refined patterns of “pine trees, daisy flowers, ivory bamboo and apricot trees” carved on wooden pillars and doors. Inside, the house now displays sets of parallels inlaid with mother-of-pearl, skillfully carved furniture and ancient ceramics.
Le Thi Chinh, the owner’s wife, said her husband’s great-grandfather was the chief of the district who was so keen on antiquities that he invited craftsmen from the imperial capital of Hue to build the house over a few years and spent a lot of time and efforts collecting many valuable ancient objects.
In 2002, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) financed more than 1.8 billion VND to restore the house with the supervision of a female Japanese architect who lived in the house for over six months. Thanks to JICA’s support, the house was restored in the original architectural and interior style.
The second popular destination in Dong Hoa Hiep Village is Nguyen Van Duc’s house which was built in 1850 with a blend of Oriental and Western architecture.
The front of the house was constructed in the French style with round Western pillars and romantic domes whereas the inside was designed in traditional Vietnamese style. At present, the house still preserves many rare ancient objects that demonstrate the well-off life and refined hobby of rich families in southern Vietnam in the past.
Nowadays, Dong Hoa Hiep Village is a popular destination of both domestic and foreign visitors. Each year, the village attracts almost 100,000 visitors with an increasing number of foreign tourists.
|The interior of the ancient house owned by Phan Van Duc is decorated in the traditional style.|
|Skillful sculptures at the worshiping area.|
|Foreign tourists visit and learn about the history and value of the ancient house owned by
Tran Tuan Kiet.
|A sideboard inlaid with mother-of-pearl.|
|French oil lamps.|
|A cupboard of ancient ceramics.|
|The ancient house owned by Tran Tuan Kiet attracts a large number of foreign visitors.|
|A girl in Dong Hoa Hiep Village.|