Crossing the main dome gate of the iron wood gate of Lac Tinh Vien in no 65 Phan Dinh Phung Street, Hue city, we were like in the other world. It was quiet and close to the nature. Every crowdedness of the city or the heat of the summer is left behind.
In front of our eyes, green gardens with fruits and flowers appear. Along the two path sides, there are tidy ornament trees from amplexicaul tea, ochna autropurpurea, etc. The two yards beside are the stone furniture that were used to enjoy tea and make poem with eminent people.
At the end of the path, there is a partition screen that is built from brick simulating a letter book. According to the house owner, the screen is inevitable in every architecture monuments in Hue. That is the object to partition the bad air and the curious eyes for the house.
Passing the square yard, there is four-house-complex, which is different in styles and in traditional features. Firstly, Van Trai house was built since 1910 in the worshipping house of Hong Khang family and Ung Trinh family to welcome guest and make poems. There is some horizontal lacquered board, which are more than 100 years old, and especially the board of the principles of kindness and fond of learning.
The next house is the worshipping house of Hong Khang – grandson of King Minh Mang, which was built in 1889. In the inauguration day, the 11th prince of the king was Tuy Ly Vuong Mien Trinh gave three words for the name of the house that is Hy Tran Trai, which supposed the nice duty to parents and relatives. The architecture style in this place is different from other traditional ancient houses in the capital city. On the lobby, there are many sophisticated patterns that symbolic the four trees in four seasons, and eight objects for worship.
The next one is Nhan hau house (Kindness house). It is a square house with no partition walls. It has been more than one century since the family has had the tradition of helping the poor on Sunday. The name has a kind name was given by a family in Thanh Hoa province. The left part of the house is Di Tam Thich The Duong which is the place for living and teaching the Chinese characters for the children in family.
In this garden house, each of the architecture monuments is integrated and close to the human and nature. It is exactly like the name of Lac Tinh Vien – the garden to enjoy the quiet hobby and peace.
Every visitor who came here could not forget the house owner – Ms. Cong Tang Ton Nu Khanh Nam, a friendly nice woman. Every 5a.m in the morning, she wears a nice ao dai (long dress) and prepare 12 flower vase to decorate the house. After putting incense stick to the altar, she come to the garden to visit her trees because she supposes that makes the day fresh and create the connection between human and trees.
Every day, she welcomes the guests in a warm-hearted way. She introduces the traditional principles in her family with her passion and pride. She said: “After one year stopping welcoming the guest, Lac Tinh Vien reopened since May 1st, 2011, and there has been more than 500 groups coming. The visitors always feel happy and attracted to the architecture of the garden house as well as the family story.”
We found it was hard to say good-bye to Lac Tinh Vien and the owner also. The special part and the purity of the garden house along with the hospitality and the well knowledge of the owner did grab the visitors.