Introduction to Phuoc Tich ancient village
According to the historical documents, the formation of Phuoc Tich Ancient Village was established in the 15th century, under the reign of King Le Thanh Tong, which was at the same time as the expansion of the territory to the south of the Le Dynasty. Also in the documents, after winning victory over the Chiem Thanh enemy, the first ancestor of the Hoang family in this village, named Hoang Minh Hung, came across this landscape. He had his fortune told and knew that it was a fruitful land, then he gathered people to found the village.
At first, the village was called Phuc Giang, which meant a riverside land with wealth and happiness. In a book written by Le Quy Don, a famous scholar in Le Dynasty, Phuc Giang Village was on the bank of O Lau River and located in Huong Tra Province. Then, in the Tay Son Dynasty, Phuc Giang was changed into Hoang Giang to commemorate the family who formed the village. It was not until the reign of King Gia Long of the Nguyen Dynasty that the village was named Phuoc Tich. Phuoc means “blessing”, while “Tich” means “gathering”; the name Phuoc Tich includes the wish of the ancestor to bless the future generation with the best things. Over the last 500 years, the residents of Phuoc Tich Village have continued the tradition to build a beautiful and peaceful land and preserve the ancient cultural features. Coming to Phuoc Tich Ancient Village, it is not difficult to see the Eastern philosophy in the architecture of ancient houses, the customs of families as well as the system of antique temples, pagodas and shrines.
O Lau River is the natural border of Thua Thien – Hue and Quang Tri Province. The horseshoe-shaped river curves around the village, forming a thriving village with typical features of North Central Vietnam. Although Phuoc Tich Village has been recognised as a national monument for more than a decade, the village is not often listed on the itinerary of tourists coming to Hue. Thus, a visit to Phuoc Tich Ancient Village is like an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city to come to a serene life in the countryside.
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Nowadays, Phuoc Tich Ancient Village still preserves tangible heritages which are both grandiose and invaluable. Of the 117 houses in this village, there are 27 ancient houses and 10 ancient houses of worship, in particular, 12 girder houses there conserve special architectural values.
Transport to Phuoc Tich ancient village
Phuoc Tich Ancient Village is about 40km to the north of Hue City. To get to this village, you can hire a car or motorbike, follow Highway 1A to the north. It takes you about 45 minutes to go by car and 1 hour to go by motorbike to reach Phuoc Tich Ancient Village.
Along the way to Phuoc Tich Village, instead of towering buildings and crowded streets, you can see peaceful villages with immense fields and red-tiled houses, which is a common scene in the Vietnamese countryside.
Getting around the area
Getting around Phuoc Tich ancient village, you also have the opportunity to admire many worshipping works of the ancient village. The most prominent can be mentioned as Cay Thi Temple, also known as Ba Temple, this is considered a sacred place of worship of the people in the village.
Best Things to do in Phuoc Tich ancient village
You should go to Phuoc Tich Village on a sunny day. The dry season in Hue is from March to August, which is quite favourable for tourists to discover the city as well as the surrounding landscapes.
To travel to Phuoc Tich ancient village, you can visit some places such as visiting Ancient Houses. In Phuoc Tich Ancient Village, there are 27 ancient houses in total, and most houses are in girder style including three compartments and two lean-tos. The ages of these houses range from 100 to 200 years, but the typical structure and architecture are still preserved. The patterns of stylised dragons, clouds and the sun are used in decoration of these houses, creating a solemn but harmonious feeling.
There are no imposing constructions here that you often see in other historical places. The ancient house in Phuoc Tich Village crystallises the cultural values that have existed for more than five centuries and reminds the descendants about the tradition of their ancestors.
The Museum of Pottery in Phuoc Tich Ancient Village is a private museum of Mr. Le Trong Dien and his family, where tourists can see a huge collection of ancient pottery products. Many ceramic items in the collection were made hundreds of years ago, so are extremely precious to the owner. The pottery museum tells visitors the story about the procedure of making pottery products, the ups and downs in the history of Phuoc Tich Village and the value contained in each item. The pottery collection itself comprises familiar products in daily life such as bowls, pots, cups, jars and vases in simple shapes and decoration, it preserves the spirit of a craft village that fell into oblivion.
There are many ancient temples and shrines in Phuoc Tich Ancient Village but Hien Linh Shrine is the oldest one. Hien Linh Shrine is also known as Cay Thi Shrine because the shrine lies under the shadow of a more-than-500-year-old gold apple (a kind of persimmon). Hien Linh Shrine is the combination of Champa and Vietnamese culture, which is used to worship Mother Ponagar, a goddess in the Cham belief. The small mossy shrine nestles in a corner of Phuoc Tich Ancient Village. The entrance gate of the shrine is only 1.3 metres so that everyone entering the shrine has to lower their heads to show their respect to the goddess.
It is not difficult to realise that girder houses (or “nha ruong” in Vietnamese) are quite popular in Phuoc Tich Ancient Village. The girder-house style was the typical architecture of houses in Hue under the Nguyen Dynasty. The housing style appeared in the 17th century, with the system of wooden pillars and beams. The dowels connecting the house frame are also made of wood, which allows easy fitting and dismantling. The wood used in ancient houses of Phuoc Tich Ancient Village is jackfruit wood. This kind of timber is not only resistant to termite and wood-borers but it also remains undamaged in spite of the destruction of time. In front of each house is a small yard and the surrounding is a garden. There is no wall between the two gardens but a green hedge with flowers or vines. That kind of hedge is also an exclusive feature which can only be found in houses in North Central Vietnam. Along the roads in Phuoc Tich Village and the paths leading to every house, you can see many other green hedges, which contribute to the fresh air and peaceful atmosphere of the village.
Pottery used to be a traditional handicraft in Phuoc Tich Ancient Village. Nowadays, only a few families still live on making pottery, and the craft only exists in the memories of the elders in Phuoc Tich Village. However, the vestige of pottery still remains. Everywhere you go in Phuoc Tich, you can easily catch the sight of houses with roofs, pillars, walls and perrons decorated in small pieces of porcelain. The ceramic pieces in many shapes and sizes were disposed meticulously in certain forms, depending on the purpose of the owners. Only in Hue can you admire a large amount of constructions using ceramic products for decoration.
Phuoc Tich ancient village is also known for its "powder" culture. Called the "powder" culture because flour once made a brand for the village. Although the village does not farm, the women here skillfully process many types of flour such as rice flour, filter flour, and glutinous rice flour to sell to people around the area. The small village of less than 120 households has nearly a dozen flour-making houses. People here for decades have been famous for making delicious and fragrant rice flour. Most of the rice flour here is made into long fibres to be used to cook rice cake soup (also known as flour porridge). There is also flour to make cakes.
What’s good to eat in Phuoc Tich ancient village?
Phuoc Tich ancient village is famous for many kinds of cakes that tourists can enjoy such as husband and wife cake, ramie leaf rice cake, va cake and khoai tia cake.
Top Tips for your stay in Phuoc Tich ancient village
In the flood season from October to December, the persistent rains cause the rise of the water in O Lau River and sometimes even floods can occur, so tourism activities in Phuoc Tich are not encouraged at that time.
Don’t hesitate to ask the villagers in case you do not know where to start in Phuoc Tich Ancient Village. The friendly residents will warmly help you.
Phong Hoa, Phong ?ien, Thua Thien Hue, Viet Nam