The travel site of The New York Times published an article
entitled “Vietnam’s Folk History Reflected In Building” by Mike Ives to
introduce the Thanh Chuong Viet Palace.
This architectural structure was initially the home and studio of Thanh Chuong,
one of the celebrated painters in contemporary Vietnamese art.
In late May, an interpreter called Thanh Chuong to make an appointment with him
in the name of Mike Ives, a correspondent of the International Herald Tribune in
Vietnam. The painter agreed. The American journalist was warmly welcomed by
Thanh Chuong and his wife.
After the tour at Thanh Chuong Viet Palace, Ives met with architect Hoang Dao
Kinh to seek more professional information about this work. Meanwhile, Justin
Mott of International Herald Tribune visited the palace to take some pictures.
On June 19, Ives’ “Vietnam’s Folk History Reflected In Building” article was
posted on the travel site of The New York Times.
From the center of Hanoi, about 40 kilometers heading to Day Dieu Slope in Hien
Ninh Commune, Soc Son District, an old cultural complex called Viet Phu Thanh
Chuong or Thanh Chuong Viet Palace is a familiar name for those who love to
discover Vietnamese culture. The complex wears breaths of immemorial time
blanketing houses, antiques and surrounding trees.
Soon after its existence in 2002, Thanh Chuong Viet Palace instantly became
famous as a unique cultural preservation resort, a spiritual legacy of
Vietnamese art and culture that attracts lots of local and foreign visitors,
people who love and want to have an in-depth understanding of Vietnamese
culture, fine arts and spiritual life.
Lying on a hill leaning back over Soc Son Mountain, the site covers over 10,000
square meters and keeps thousands of cultural and historical artifacts of
dynasties Dinh, Ly, Tran and Le which artist Thanh Chuong spent his life to
collect and store.
The simple path to the site, to cottage houses, lotus ponds, together with
images of water rice civilization such as water ladles, rice mortars, bamboo
beds and green-moss stone steps, brings tourists nostalgic feelings but is
familiar and cozy.
Cottage houses with earthen walls are not cold and alone in the world of
Vietnamese culture at all but they inspire visitors to think back to their
Once visiting the complex, visitors also have a chance to contemplate old houses
belonging to many varied regions and cultures such as an old stilt house of the
Muong ethnic people which is over 100 square meters and bought from Hoa Binh
Province, or another stilt house from the Northern mountainous area. In front of
the stilt houses is a large pond with a stone bridge spanning through.
Next is a five-floor tower built in ancient style and standing imposingly on a
hill. At the middle of the site is an old house bought from the countryside of
Nam Dinh Province, especially a five-story house nearby, striking with
architecture of old temples, carved with meticulous and elegant patterns and
decorated with many parallel sentences and bas-relief.
The highlight of the site is a complex of statues made of stone, wood, bronze or
ceramic, installed and displayed in the houses and yards around the site.
Moreover, tourists also have a chance to admire paintings of artist Thanh
Chuong, works made by harmony of folk and contemporary, past and present.
At the palace, visitors can also enjoy folk music performances of quan ho, dan
ca and water puppet shows.
Thanh Chuong Viet Palace will make guests who call on it feel as if they were
living simultaneously in ancient and modern times since they can see with their
own eyes the lost beauties of Vietnam now being resuscitated.