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Photographer's Note

I shot this picture in Duong Lam village. Located 40km from the capital Hanoi, Duong Lam village can be reached by car after only one hour.

Unlike other villages near Hanoi that could not help resisting rapid urbanization, Duong Lam village is known as the most well preserved village in terms of its ancient architectures and characteristic of the its people.

People known about Duong Lam village also because it was the birthplace of two national great heroes, Phung Hung and Ngo Quyen. The first hero was Phung Hung - the leader of a resurrection against the Chinese in the VIII century and the second was Ngo Quyen who in the X century had made a glorious victory in Bach Dang river ending thousand year of Chinese domination. The Vietnam history recognized that Ngo Quyen was the people who first set up an independent feudal kingdom, which lasted for almost one thousand years. For this reason, in Duong Lam village, you can find many Vietnam's typical architectural works such as temples dedicated to Ngo Quyen and Phung Hung, pagodas and communal houses.

A visit to Duong Lam village is a trip to trace back the origin of Vietnam's culture and Vietnam's traditions. This is also the great chance explore architecture of ancient houses which has been preserved for many centuries. It is estimated that there are about 300 ancient houses in Duong Lam village, 50 of which have the age of over 300 years old while the rest were already 200 years old. According to people in the village, there are three reasons that make the number of ancient house that high.

1. People and agricultural life
People in Duong Lam village are all farmers. The agricultural thinking dominated the thought of people in the Duong Lam villages and turned the social structure in the village into a small 'subsidized economy'. For centuries, there are little connection with outsides, thus making the trading or handicrafts have no chance to develop.
2. Belief
According to some the olds in Duong Lam village, there is a belief that restricts the construction of new house. People in the village all think that if their house were built higher than the pagoda or temples in Duong Lam village, they would be involved in troubles or be punished by Super-natural Powers. As a result, people dare not to rebuild their house.
3. Luckily left untouched by the war
During the war, the village was luckily left untouched by the wars and therefore, only few houses was burnt to the ground in 1946 and nowadays the premise of these house become the free ground for public activities.

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Additional Photos by Tuan Le (letuananh) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 189 W: 25 N: 155] (2543)
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