In the Hoan Kiem District of Hanoi, a memorial plaque has recently been placed on the renovated Ha Vi Community House, located at 11 Hang Hom Street in the Hang Gai District of the Old Quarter.
|Renovations have recently been completed on the century-old Ha Vi Community House in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Photo: Huy Hoang/ The Hanoi Times|
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh’s Call for Patriotic Emulation (June 11, 1948 – June 11, 2023), a series of activities will be held.
Promoting Heritage Protection in Hanoi’s Old Quarter
Hanoi’s Old Quarter is renowned for its historic architecture and traditional culture, making it a popular destination for tourists. To ensure the preservation of this heritage, the government of Hanoi has recently launched a campaign to promote the protection of the Old Quarter. The campaign includes initiatives such as raising public awareness of the importance of heritage conservation, developing policies and regulations to protect the area, and encouraging the involvement of local communities. Additionally, the government has also set up a special fund to support the conservation efforts of the Old Quarter. Through these efforts, the government of Hanoi hopes to maintain the unique cultural identity of the Old Quarter and ensure its sustainability for future generations.
The Party Committee, authorities and people of Hoan Kiem District are always concerned about preserving and promoting the value of cultural heritage while promoting tourism development, said Nguyen Quoc Hoan, deputy chairman of the Hoan Kiem District People’s Committee.
In terms of site clearance and restoration, listed relics are given priority. The district has allocated large capital from its budget and solicited private funds to restore such relics.
Hoan stated that the district had granted funds to restore and embellish the Ha Vi Communal House.
“The investor and contractors have done an excellent job of preserving the tangible and intangible heritage values of the Ha Vi Communal House Renovation and Embellishment project, in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Cultural Heritage,” he said.
After more than a year of work, the project has been completed and the district has chosen the relic as a building to commemorate the 75th anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh’s call to patriotic emulation. Today, the Ha Vi Community House is like a mini-museum, vividly displaying the development of traditional handicrafts in the 36-street area of the ancient capital, Thang Long.
|The wonderful new appearance of Ha Vi Communal House in Hanoi. Photo: Huy Hoang/ The Hanoi Times|
Who is the Patron Saint of Lacquering Craft in Hanoi?
The Ha Vi Community House, also known as the Ha Vi Ancestral Hall, was once part of Co Vu Thuong Commune, Tien Tuc Canton, Tho Xuong District. In the mid-19th century, a number of natives from Ha Vi Village, Thuong Tin Prefecture, Ha Dong Province (now Thuong Tin District, Hanoi City) migrated to Hanoi and established their traditional craft of lacquering on Hang Hom Street.
At first, they opened shops making and selling wooden boxes, chests, or coffins. Later, they mainly lacquered wooden trunks, caskets, horizontal inscribed boards, couplets, lamps, worship thrones, and altar cabinets.
The craftsmen constructed the Ha Vi communal house in order to revere the patron saint of lacquering, Tran Lu (1470-1540), who hailed from Binh Vong Village, Van Binh Ward, Thuong Tin District.
| Ha Vi Communal House at 11 Hang Hom Street is the place for worshiping the godfather of lacquering in Vietnam – Tran Lu (1470-1540). Photo: Huy Hoang/ The Hanoi Times
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A Funky, Ancient Communal House in the Heart of Hanoi
With an area of 202.3 square meters, the current Ha Vi Community House is rather small. The building houses relics that bear artistic characteristics of the Nguyen dynasty: stone steles, bronze bells, worshipping cranes and thrones, spirit tablets, couplets, and horizontal inscribed boards.
According to the remaining steles, the communal house underwent numerous repairs in the early 20th century, especially in 1914 (the 8th year of Duy Tan’s reign), 1921 (the 6th year of Khai Dinh’s reign), and 1941 (the 16th year of Bao Dai’s reign).
In 1947, the French colonialists demolished the Ha Vi Communal House. After it was restored in 1951, it no longer retained its original architectural design. However, in 2014, Hanoi City listed it as a Historical-Artistic Relic.
|On the morning of June 8, the Hoan Kiem District held a ceremony to place a commemorative plaque on the renovated Ha Vi Community House at 11 Hang Hom Street, Hang Gai Ward, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh’s Call for Patriotic Emulation (June 11, 1948 – June 11, 2023). Photo: Huy Hoang/ The Hanoi Times|
Fortunately, the local government had launched a campaign to preserve and restore the communal house.
Over a long period, full of historical ups and downs, the communal house had been seriously degraded by the impact of climate and people. The relic area had been narrowed down, most of the structure had been dismantled, and many valuable items used for worship had been lost or severely damaged. Fortunately, the local government had launched a campaign to preserve and restore the communal house.
The Ha Vi communal house is now being revived, thanks to the cooperation between local authorities, people, and businesses.
The venue will be renovated and beautified, and then serve as a place for sightseeing, religious ceremonies, and historical education activities.
According to local cultural experts, the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter is an attractive destination for both domestic and foreign tourists, and will help to preserve and promote the capital’s cultural and historical values.
|Ha Vi Communal House, a newly restored traditional religious building, will add more architectural colors and cultural values to Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Photo: Huy Hoang/ The Hanoi Times|