The oldest communal house is much older than Saigon

By Quynh Tran   November 14, 2018 | 09:42 pm GMT+7

The Thong Tay Hoi Communal House, first built in 1679, predates Saigon by more than two centuries.

The oldest communal house is much older than Saigon

Located in Go Vap District in Saigon, the Thong Tay Hoi Communal House has been standing for more than three centuries. The original construction took place in 1679, when they used bamboo and thatched-leaves to build it. It was rebuilt in 1883. Before 1944, the communal house was called Hanh Thong Tay.

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The communal house is situated on a 1,500 square meter area and it still carries the architectural features of old days.

"Despite many makeovers, this place has been able to keep its designs from 19th century, because we’ve always tried to preserve its value," said 81 years old Nguyen Van Ty, the house manager.

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The roofs on the communal house are "paved" with terracotta tiles in a traditional pattern that goes back centuries.

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On the sanctum’s roof stand two ceramic dragons, guarding a treasure.

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The space in front of the sanctum is used for guests. They are always invited to have some tea. On festival days, this space hosts performances.

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The sanctum is 12 meters wide, 16.5 meters long and five meters high. The structure of the sanctum is a rectangle, with four main pillars in the middle.

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There are total 48 pillars in the sanctum, divided into eight rows. These pillars are made of hopea wood.

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An old woman prays in front of the main artar.

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The carvings in the sanctum of the communal house have retained their 19th century character, and their color scheme is red and gold.

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A pair of cranes standing on top of two turtles is a familiar image in Vietnam, representing the aspiration for longevity.

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Another place in the sanctum is used to worship Holy Mother of the Realm, a tutelary of business, health and a protector of the Vietnamese border. In 1998, the communal house was listed as a national relic.

 
 
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