Lying by the ancient village of Tùy Loan in the central coastal city Đà Nẵng, the 200-year-old Tích Thiện Đường house still retains its original architecture.
It is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination, especially at the weekend.
To reach Tích Thiện Đường, we had to drive 30km southwest of Đà Nẵng City along former Highway 14B, and had to ask for directions to reach Thái Lai Village.
Tourists can also travel to the house by boat. Starting from the Hàn River, the 20km trip takes tourists through paddy fields, lush rows of bamboo, the ancient villages of Tùy Loan and Bồ Bản, and old temples along the river.
Peace and relaxation are the first feelings visitors experience when they reach the house.
Welcoming us at the entrance were two old trees, one an ochna and the other a longan, which are over 120 years old.
The 200-year-old house is like a bridge connecting the past and present, or between century-old cultural traditions and modern life.
It has three apartments roofed with yin and yang tiles that show the tests of time and covered with time imprints.
The owner of the house is Đỗ Hữu Minh, who cares for every corner of the building in order to prevent it from falling into disrepair.
Tích Thiện Đường was built by his great grandfather who was a Confucian scholar and a native of Thái Lai Village.
Leading us into the house, the 62-year-old man pointed at a horizontal lacquered board engraved with Chinese characters, which translate into Tích Thiện Đường.
“The board hung in the middle of the house since it was built. Naming the house Tích Thiện Đường, my great grandfather wanted to advise his descendants to lead an honest life, with self-improvement and charitable work. Along two sides of the board are pairs of wooded panels on which are inscribed parallel sentences meaning: People practicing charity will receive many good things, and people who want to have a position in life must self-improve,” Minh explained.
According to Minh, the building materials for the house were purchased from Cẩm Hà Village in Hội An and transferred by boat.
The house is decorated with various wine jars, bronze pots, trays and gongs.
“Its 36 pillars and wooden structure were made from the jackfruit tree and are engraved with sophisticated designs. My father told me that it took my great grandfather five years to collect the timber for the building, while all the pillars were bought from within the village and Thừa Thiên Huế and Quảng Nam provinces,” the owner said.
Minh revealed that all the sophisticated designs inside the house, from those on the altars, girders and pillars, were created by the skilful hands of artisans from Kim Bồng Carpentry Village, which showcase the original culture of Quảng Nam Province.
He also said that keeping the 200-year-old house intact was not an easy task. Tích Thiện Đường has witnessed many ups and downs, as well as suffered from bombardments during the wars and then natural calamities.
During the resistance wars, the house also provided shelter to revolutionists, many of whom have frequently returned to visit.
“They consider the house a second home. Besides its architectural value, the house itself is a national relic,” Minh said proudly.
In its plan to promote tourism, Đà Nẵng’s People’s Committee is calling for investment to construct a river eco-tourism route Cẩm Lệ - Túy Loan - Thái Lai, along which Tích Thiện Đường is located.
The city is currently constructing a port on the Túy Loan River and steps leading to the house.