The olden days

Just 40 km from downtown Hanoi, Cuu village draws visitors with its old-fashioned charm

Located in Van Tu commune of Hanoi’s Phu Xuyen District, Cuu village was once famous for its tailor shops. Today, this small village draws visitors thanks to its old-fashioned French-era architecture.


Walking down the villages narrow stone alleys and mossy walls, I felt like I had gone back in time. In the past, most residents of Cuu village were well- off and had large houses. Huge wooden boards inscribed with poems and literary quotes hang from the houses’ arched gates, revealing the one-time prosperity and culture of the village’s residents. Strolling down this narrow alley, I felt nostalgic. I walked slowly so as to examine the wooden boards and photograph them. The patterns were beautifully carved. It was sad to see that many of the old homes had fallen into disrepair. Some were abandoned.

The village’s architecture is impressive and includes many three-compartment homes with large gardens. Built between 1925 and 1940, the old houses feature curved roofs and beautifully carved door-frames. Even covered with moss, these old homes retain their stately beauty.

Built between 1925 and 1940, these charming villas mix European and Vietnamese architectural motifs


Some 30 old villas remain, among them the house of Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Du, which was built in 1929. The oldest remaining villa in the village, it features a design of a shrimp on its front gate. This house has three areas: a house of worship, the ‘* living areas, and a kitchen area. The house of worship features a three-compartment style with one lean-to, an ironwood ceiling and a tiled roof. Long ago, during the hot planting season, villagers would ask to rest in Mr. Du’s house, which had such thick walls that it was always cool indoors.


The house of Mr. Xa Vinh is also beautiful, with sophisticated architecture. The entry is covered with stone and the gate decorated with designs of peach blossoms, a lobster, a unicorn, a phoenix, and parallel sentences in Han script.

Strolling through Cuu village, I felt like I had come home. Peering into entrance gates I was welcomed with friendly smiles and warm greetings. I was invited to share cups of Eugenia water and green tea. Elderly people were happy to chat with me, sharing their recollections of the “old days”. In this peaceful village, the past lives on.

Now on behalf of a local born in this village, I’m excited to announce that we’re opening a one-day tour from Hanoi-the gateway to Hanoi suburbs to escape the bustle and hustle of Hanoi. This one day ancient village tour will bring the unique experience featuring local perspective. Worth it!

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