An ancient house a modern mystery in Vietnam’s northern highlands

An ancient house a modern mystery in Vietnam’s northern highlands - VnExpress International

Less than 3 km from the Sa Phin junction in Dong Van District, this ancient house keeps to itself in Ha Sung Village, Lung Tao Commune.

It has an appearance that is quite similar to the famous H'mong royal palace, the seat of H'mong kings Vuong Chinh Duc and Vuong Chi Thanh, who ruled over the region of Ha Giang through the French colonial era until Vietnam regained independence in 1945.

The house now attracts a lot of attention because of its unique architectural values and several unanswered questions about its origins and history.

Ha Sung Village is 3 km from the H'mong royal palace, but visitors will find it difficult to get here if they don’t pay careful attention to the directions.

An ancient house a modern mystery in Vietnam’s northern highlands - VnExpress International

The house is built on a high hill overlooking a valley with a long stone path leading up to it. It is an architectural blend of the H'mong and the South Chinese. The house has three blocks, one in the center and two on the sides.

An ancient house a modern mystery in Vietnam’s northern highlands - VnExpress International

The main door is made of wood with a high threshold, typical of H'mong architecture.

Owned by the Vu family, it is over 100 years old. According to the little information available, seven generations have been in this house which was built by a group of workers from South China. After finishing this house, the group went on to build the H'mong royal place, which explains their architectural similarities.

An ancient house a modern mystery in Vietnam’s northern highlands - VnExpress International

In the center of the house is a skylight space and around it are the bedrooms, living room and kitchen.

An ancient house a modern mystery in Vietnam’s northern highlands - VnExpress International

The bedroom, balcony and hallway are made of rare wood. The roof is made of double tiles.

An ancient house a modern mystery in Vietnam’s northern highlands - VnExpress International

Poppy flower patterns can be seen all around the house on both wood and stone. In the middle of the yard stands an extremely rare stone bathtub that is as old as the house.

In addition to the scale of an old, big mansion, the house is replete with delicate and meticulous decorations, with the wood furniture carved in South Chinese style and the lower roof made of wood covered with double tiles.

An ancient house a modern mystery in Vietnam’s northern highlands - VnExpress International

Life in this centenarian house is completely separated from the outside world and proceeds at a slow, leisurely pace difficult to imagine in the modern world.

An ancient house a modern mystery in Vietnam’s northern highlands - VnExpress International

The dilapidated condition of the house is an indicator of its age.

An ancient house a modern mystery in Vietnam’s northern highlands - VnExpress International

It is evident that the former owner of the house was an influential figure in the area and might have a close relationship with H'mong King Vuong Chinh Duc.

However, many questions about the identity and family background of the Vu people as well as the origin and history of the house remain unanswered.

The descendants of the Vu family, most of whom do not speak Vietnamese, are reticent. They only know that they belong to the Vu family and their house was built and passed on by their ancestors.

Photos by Nguyen Chi Nam

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