The ancient village of Duong Lam in the northern province of Ha Tay was recognized as a national relic by the Ministry of Culture and Information on November 28, 2005. After the recognition of Hoi An ancient town and Hanoi’s old quarter, Duong Lam is the first ancient village recognized as a national relic.
The village, about 60 km west of Hanoi, boasts a 1,200 year-old history with many houses dating back 400 years. It is the only place in Vietnam where two kings came from. Two of Vietnam’s kings, Phung Hung (761-802) and Ngo Quyen (896-944) were born in Duong Lam, giving the village its prestige. Both men led resistance wars against northern invasion and after winning national independence, were crowned kings. After their deaths, the local people built temples in their honor.
For tangible culture relic, Duong Lam has 21 relic sites, consisting of temples, pagodas and tombs and ten of which have been classified as national and provincial relics. The village has been well-known for its surviving laterite brick houses, built three to four centuries ago. Laterite is red clay formed from weathered basalt found in northern Vietnam. For intangible cultural relic, Duong Lam has preserved various festivals, customs and literature on the people and land of Duong Lam through different period of time.
For ecological environment, Duong Lam has many beautiful scenes linked with legendary stories such as Guom Hill, Ho Gam Hill and tales on the two kings Phuong Hung and Ngo Quyen. Many ancient trees of hundreds of years old are seen in Duong Lam. Traditional crafts and trade bring about special articles to the country such as sugar cane (in the past) and Mia chicken.
In recent years, many relics in the villages such as Mia Pagoda, Phung Hung Temple, Ngo Quyen Temple and Mong Phu communal house have been restored. However, it’s important to preserve not only the tangible cultural relics, but also intangible cultural relics and ecological environment and they should be carried out synchronously.
The construction of new cultural buildings which aims to honor the history, national heroes and boost tourism activity should be ensured the harmony between traditional and modern cultural values and the relations between preservation and development. An master plan for the preservation of Duong Lam village in the 2006 – 2020 period should be worked out with the participation of relevant ministries and sectors with funding from various sources.