Duong Lam is one of the oldest villages in Vietnam. The architecture built in the course of its history has been conserved carefully even through the fires of war.
Many architectural works have been recognized as national cultural assets, including: shrines, temples, assembly halls, etc. Cultural and religious activities continue to be the moral support of the villagers. In addition, the village has one of the largest aggregations of traditional folk houses in Vietnam. The distribution of folk houses, community facilities, roads, trees, etc..
all reflect the great value of a traditional ancient village.
Vietnam National King – Phung Hung
According lo historical records, Phung Hung was born in Duong Lam. In the year 791, he gathered the people and rose up in arms against the An Nam Colonial Office. After Phung Hung died, the people showed deep gratitude and praised him as “The Great Father and Chieftain.”
The shrine dedicated to Phung Hung King is located on a low hill in the west of Cam Lam hamlet. The front yard of the shrine is flanked by two side-buildings. At the center is the front worship hall followed by the rear worship hall. The front worship hall is dedicated to the high-ranking mandarins of Phung Hung, and the rear worship hall is dedicated to Phung Hung King. The front worship hall was built in 1882. In the past, the center of the floor was paved with bricks. There were three altars: the altar at the center was used to worship the high-ranking mandarins, the left-hand side altar was dedicated to the deity of the village which organized the festival, and the right-hand side altar was dedicated to the deities of the other villages. The rear worship hall is also considered to have been built in the latter half of the 19th century. The structure and decoration of this building contain many old characteristics.
Vietnam National King – Ngo Quyen King
Ngo Quyen was a descendant of a notable tribe in Duong Lam. In the year 939, he defeated the Nam Han troops at the Bach Dang estuary. In the following year, he proclaimed himself to be the king and set up the capital at Co Loa. Historians regard this year as the point of liberation from the Chinese domination.
According to the stele inside the Mia Temple, a royal concubine of Trinh Trang Lord had the temple built in 1642. The gale opens toward the square. In the front section, there is a yard with scone monument. Standing at the inner section is the Buddhist temple. The Buddhist temple consists of a lower temple at the front and an upper temple at the back. The large building in front of the Buddhist temple is the front hall of the lower temple, said to have been built in 1853. The upper temple is a sturdy building with stout columns and low eaves. It is said to have been built when the temple was founded in the latter half of the 17th century.
Family Chapel and church at Duong Lam Ancient Village
At Duong Lam Ancient Village, there are many family chapels of Hoang, Giang, Phan, Cat, Nguyen families. Especially notable is the family chapel of Giang family dedicated to Giang Van Minh (the fourth generation of Giang family) who was a senior envoy dispatched to China in the 17th century. The family chapel consists of worship hall and main hall. The worship hall was built in 1943, and the main hall was built in 1845. It is open-structured for carrying out rituals and possesses splendid roof frame.
There is a church inside the Mong Phu Hamlet, like those seen in many regions of Vietnam. A Vietnamese parish priest designed and hired carpenters of other villages to build this church in 1953. Most of the Christians in the village contributed time and effort to build this church. During the French colonial period, there were about 100 households of believers. Today, many followers still go to the church every Wednesday to attend the service. The soaring bell tower serves as a landmark of the village.
300-400 year-old ancient houses
The ancient houses are famous for their architecture. These wooden houses mainly have 5 or 7 spans with 2 wings and 5 rows of columns. The houses have been specialized by sophisticatedly carved details in the form of flowers, leaves, clouds, dragons, etc.
A system of wooden doors is very firm. Each span has 4 leaves of the door with upper and lower joints. Thresholds were made of firm wood above 40-50cm from the ground and 10cm from the floor. This distance helps to ventilate well, avoid humidity for the thresholds. The whole system of the thresholds is the tie system linking all spans together.
One more special thing about the ancient houses is that most of the them were made of laterite and mud, two materials that are abundant in the area. Laterite is used on house walls, gates, wells, temple walls, and so forth. The mud is taken from ponds. Apart from its historical and tourism values, these more than 300-year-old houses are an important place for architects to study.