If you ever have the opportunity to travel to Can Tho, after visiting famous sites like Cai Rang floating market, Ninh Kieu wharf, enjoying fruit, gardening cuisine … don’t forget to visit all the ancient houses that bear the mark of Western culture in this place. Especially, you might have heard about Binh Thuy ancient house – the most beautiful old house in Tay Do which is already over 100 years old. The house is known for its unique architecture and the invaluable collection of artifacts inside – which will surely surprise you and give off a nostalgic feeling for middle aged people.
- Location: 144 Buu Huu Nghia, Binh Thuy, Can Tho
Opening hours: 8AM–12AM, 2PM–6PM
Entrance fees: 15,000VND/person
I. History of Binh Thuy Ancient House
Binh Thuy ancient house located at 142/144 Bui Huu Nghia, Binh Thuy, Can Tho – an indispensable destination for anyone who is visiting Can Tho. The ancient house was built in 1807 by the Duong family in a sophisticated French architecture style. This old house is one of the few old houses that still stay intact to this day, and has great value in supporting research about culture and customs of the people of the river delta.
The owner of the house is Mr. Duong Chan Ky – a wealthy intellectual businessman and also an artistic farmer who loves to explore new and strange things of the prevailing Western trend, especially in the field of architecture. Therefore, visitors can see the luxury French-style and old villa-style in the ancient house’s design. The most special thing about Binh Thuy ancient house is that it bears the imprint of clear feng-shui of the East, creating a harmonious combination between two cultures East – West.
I. Architecture of Binh Thuy Ancient House
The house is built on a total area of about 6,000 square meters in the direction of East-West, surrounded by well-trimmed bonsai and flowers that bloom in all four seasons. This design makes the house look nostalgic, unique and lively, romantic at the same time.
The whole space includes 3 main houses: The front house (5 rooms) – used as a reception place in solemn occasions, decorated in European style; The middle house (5 compartments) – 3 compartments are arranged as a place of worship according to tradition, 2 compartments are used for living; The following house – used as a common place, along with small scenes inside and outside.
Different from many other houses, the facade of Binh Thuy ancient house does not have a direct staircase, but is designed on both sides that lead to the main door. Going up the stairs, you can see a series of windows which ensure ventilation for the house. The stairs are also decorated with a lot of flowers on the side.
The interior of Binh Thuy ancient house was directly arranged by the owner according to the law of symmetry. All floor tiles are shipped directly from France. Separating the three main parts of the house is a system of shafts and triplets made of wood. Although the architecture of the house is decorated in European style, the most important place is the Vietnamese worship altar. This shows that there is a harmonious East-West cultural communication, selectively expressing the sophisticated aesthetic tastes of the owner.
The highlight of Binh Thuy ancient house is definitely the artifacts collection that has been preserved for centuries. The collection includes many invaluable things such as marble furniture, green veins with a diameter of 1.5m, Louis 15 French-style satin, blue marble surface, white lanterns in XVIII century, hanging lanterns in XIX century, teacups from the Ming – Thanh dynasty, high green enamel Thuong Ngoc … These artifacts are the evidences of extreme wealth and the high-end living style of some affluent families back in the 19th century.
III. Values of Binh Thuy Ancient House
With its architectural and historical value, Binh Thuy ancient house has been recognized as a “national-level artistic relic”. The uniqueness of the ancient house of Binh Thuy has attracted many visitors, as well as directors and studios to choose this place as the scene of their movies, for example “Tay Do Beauty”, “Life Debt” …
The most famous movie that used Binh Thuy ancient house as the filming location is called “Lover”, directed by Jean Jacques Annaud. When he left Can Tho to go back to France, J.J. Annaud confessed: “I was stunned by the magnificence of this wonderful home and wanted to show it to the world through my movies.
When visiting Binh Thuy Ancient House, you will have the opportunity to travel to the past and be immersed in the illusion of rich life of the wealthy Southern families. The housekeeper will tell you about the daily life of the Southern family over 100 years ago: How to eat in the old family, the star Nam Bo was built at the big gate, the meaning of the reliefs, Cement statues in the garden …
Binh Thuy ancient house is the perfect result of the absorption and application of ingenuity and reasonableness. It clearly demonstrates the architectural transition between the two centuries 19th-20th amongst the rich population in the Mekong Delta in general and Can Tho in particular.
► Recommended thing to do: A visit to Binh Thuy ancient house will definitely gives you a nostalgic and royal feeling. You should dress in fancy or retro, vintage style to take many beautiful photos when you come here.
IV. How to Get to Binh Thuy Ancient House?
You can easily go to Binh Thuy ancient house by taxi, it will cost around 100,000 VND if you stay in the center of the city.