Monday, April 25, 2011

Huế and the garden-houses

Apart from palaces, tombs, pagodas, temples... Huế is also famous for its garden-houses, seen as an identity of Huế. There are now about 1,000 garden-houses, the smallest is some hundreds square meters and the largest can reach thousands, almost in Gia Hội, Vĩ Dạ, Kim Long wards.

Garden house An Hiên
An Hiên garden-housePhoto: MD
Located in Xuân Hoà village, Hương Long commune, Huế city, An Hiên garden-house is 4,608m2 large. The gate was built in old Gothic style, the top-roofs were decorated with tigers with flower-patterns on sides. Outside the gate, under the roof is a panel inscribed with Chinese characters: An Hiên.
An Hiên garden is rich in flower species Nhài (Jasmine), mặt trời (sunflowers), lý, thạch lựu... and roses of all colours. There are also orchids, especially there are bushes of wild myrtle flowers. There’s a trà mi tree or camellia donated by Japan’s flower-association the garden is shaded and heavy in fruits year-round.
Lạc Tịch garden
Lạc Tịch garden house was built on an area of 2,070m2 in Dương Xuân village (formerly) and now it’s in 65 Phan Đình Phùng street, Huế city.
There are 4 houses inter-connected and named: Nhân Hậu, Hy Trần Trai, Vấn Trai, Di Tâm Thích Thể Đường. The names are closely related to the house-owner. All 4 houses are age-old and leave the visitors with noble impressions.
Tịnh Gia  garden
Tịnh Gia garden house or Tịnh Gia Viên lies at 20/3 Lê Thánh Tôn, Huế city. Beautified by a big imitation mountain, the house was carefully built and cared-for. There’s a garden of hundreds of ornamental plants and each one is an artistic work, especially there’s a 150 year-old apricot tree, 200 year-old cycad tree or vạn tuế.
Tịnh Gia Viên is a red address for food connoisseurs cooked by Madame Tôn Nữ Thị Hà. Tịnh Gia Viên is a culture of both ornamental plants and food – better known than others in Huế.
Ý Thảo garden house
The garden house was built in the 1950s of the last century at number 3 Thạch Hữu road, Huế city. Plants and trees are really a collection, cared-for and handed down by house-owners. Most preciously are two collections of Huế arts: a collection of more  than 200 units of Huế porcelains under Lê Trịnh, Nguyễn dynasties (over 300 years ago) and a collection of grass-pictures (portraits classic theatre players, 4-girl set cầm (musical instrument), kỳ (chess-playing), thi (poem), họa (painting) or a set of 8 fairymen. Since festival 2000, Ý Thảo garden house is a rendezvous for families, visitors to have parties a vegetarian food.
Garden-houses are not only Huế tangible heritage, but also an intangible heritage in a high-end life of former Huế aristocrats that could be found nowhere, but Huế only garden-houses becomes an inseparable part of all itineraries for visitors to Huế city.

                                                                   THÀNH TRUNG

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