From the center of Hanoi, about 40 kilometers heading to Day Dieu Slope in Hien Ninh Commune, Soc Son District, an old cultural complex called Viet Phu Thanh Chuong or Thanh Chuong Viet’s Palace is a familiar name for those who love to discover Vietnamese culture. The complex wears breaths of immemorial time blanketing houses, antiques and surrounding trees.
This architectural structure was initially the home and studio of Thanh Chuong, one of the celebrated painters in contemporary Vietnamese art.
Soon after its existence in 2002, Thanh Chuong Viet Palace instantly became famous as a unique cultural preservation resort, a spiritual legacy of Vietnamese art and culture that attracts lots of local and foreign visitors, people who love and want to have an in-depth understanding of Vietnamese culture, fine arts and spiritual life.
Lying on a hill leaning back over Soc Son Mountain, the site covers over 10,000 square meters and keeps thousands of cultural and historical artifacts of dynasties Dinh, Ly, Tran and Le which artist Thanh Chuong spent his life to collect and store.
The simple path to the site, to cottage houses, lotus ponds, together with images of water rice civilization such as water ladles, rice mortars, bamboo beds and green-moss stone steps, brings tourists nostalgic feelings but is familiar and cozy.
Cottage houses with earthen walls are not cold and alone in the world of Vietnamese culture at all but they inspire visitors to think back to their forefathers. Once visiting the complex, visitors also have a chance to contemplate old houses belonging to many varied regions and cultures such as an old stilt house of the Muong ethnic people which is over 100 square meters and bought from Hoa Binh Province or another stilt house from the Northern mountainous area. In front of the stilt houses is a large pond with a stone bridge spanning through. Next is a five-floor tower built in ancient style and standing imposingly on a hill. At the middle of the site is an old house bought from the countryside of Nam Dinh Province, especially a five-story house nearby, striking with architecture of old temples, carved with meticulous and elegant patterns and decorated with many parallel sentences and bas-relief.
The highlight of the site is a complex of statues made of stone, wood, bronze or ceramic, installed and displayed in the houses and yards around the site. Moreover, tourists also have a chance to admire paintings of artist Thanh Chuong, works made by harmony of folk and contemporary, past and present.
At the palace, visitors can also enjoy folk music performances of quan ho, dan ca and water puppet shows.
Thanh Chuong Viet Palace will make guests who call on it feel as if they were living simultaneously in ancient and modern times since they can see with their own eyes the lost beauties of Vietnam now being resuscitated.