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Phuoc Tich Village in Thua Thien-Hue Province has retained the features of a 500-year old Vietnamese village, being home to banyan trees, wells and temples.

The village is some 40km north of Hue City. Phuoc Tich was established in 1470 under King Le Thanh Tong. The village is located in the bend of the O Lau River, making the village resemble an island. The village has 12 river wharves symbolizing the 12 animals of the lunar zodiac.

A centuries old tree marks the village gate along with a temple. The village is also home to several old houses. The houses are surrounded by large gardens fenced by Chinese tea tree plants.
The homes hold old wooden furniture, horizontal lacquered boards, altars and chests with sophisticated carvings. Phuoc Tich also has dozens of pagodas and temples.

Hanoian tourist Nguyen Thi Pham was surprised by the village’s natural scenery. “I and my friends have visited several old villages, such as Duong Lam in Hanoi and Tuy Loan in Danang, but, only Phuoc Tich retains so many wooden built houses,” she said.

Phuoc Tich is also well-known for its 500-year old pottery industry. The industry was revised in 2006 when Hue Festival was launched. Local residents built a temple to worship Confucius hundreds of years ago to honour their thirst for knowledge.

Phuoc Tich is currently home to 117 households and more than 30 wooden houses which are left in the hands of the older generation to maintain. Over the past 10 years, only 99-year old Luong Thi Hen has cared for her family’s ancient wooden house. She said , “My children are away earning a living. The 100-year old house has deteriorated, and I can’t preserve it alone.”

Truong Thi Thu, 84, now lives alone in a wooden house. Every day, she cleans the house to welcome tourists. She has asked her children to return the village to help preserve the house on many occasions, but they are afraid that they wouldn’t be able to find employment if they returned.

Phong Dien District officials said the local authorities had been promoting Phuoc Tich to both local residents and visitors. The district would focus on repairing some wooden houses and also call for investment in the local pottery industry.

Phuoc Tich was recognised as a national relic in 2009 by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, following Duong Lam village in Son Tay, Hanoi

The village is a complex of ancient “nha ruong”. Nha ruong are hand-made traditional wooden houses with 48 columns for the cult of the ancestors and Buddha. Each nha ruong is built with many beams (ruong) and pillars (cot), and its name derives from this very characteristic. But the most distinctive feature is that all beams and pillars are joined by mortise and tenon, not nails. Roofed with brick tiles, nha ruong has all beams and pillars made of precious and solid wood, such as lim (iron wood), gu (sindora) or thong xanh (teranthera pine). The whole house stands on big pillars placed on a round or square stone base. All nha ruong houses have a front garden.
There are more than 100 nha ruong in the village, including 37 houses of over 100 years, and intact temples. There are 12 extremely rare nha ruong, of 150-200 years old, with sophisticated carved columns and horizontal lacquered boards.
Visitors will see a quiet space, flooded by the green color of ancient trees. It is very clean everywhere, from the road to the gardens, alleys to temples. Visitors will also see ancient pottery items or experience as "potters" in the village.

Other ancient villages in Vietnam: 

  • The ancient village of Duong Lam, Hanoi
  • Long Tuyen ancient village, Can Tho
  • Tuy Loan ancient village, Da Nang
  • The ancient village of Phong Nam, Da Nang

Some photos:

Horizontal lacquer board of Duy Tan King (1909-1916) at Ho Dinh Lan’s house

Most of wooden houses are taken care of by old people

A screen before an old house

All wooden houses in Phuoc Tich were made by artisans from My Xuyen carpentry
 village which is located south of Phuoc Tich

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