Ancient houses of Hoa ethnic people in B​ang V​an and Th​uong An communes, Ng​an Son district, Bac Kan province have stood for half a century and became a destination in the northeastern mountainous province. However, harsh weather and fast-paced urbanisation are challenging the longevity of those houses, requiring local authorities and people to use proper preservation measures.

At first, there were some 100 houses standing along one-kilometre road of ​Duc Van commune. Now there are only 10 preserving its original shape while the others have been replaced by modern houses. The houses have witnessed the lives of many generations of Hoa people so there are still people choosing to keep them that way, with certain modifications for a more modern and cozier living space.

Dong Phuc Linh, Village elder of Ban Duom B village, Thuong An commune, Ngan Son district, Bac Kan told reporters: "Our great great grandfathers have the same idea of building a house in terms of architecture and materials. They made their own bricks for their houses. Now we want to keep them that way as a local distinctive cultural value."

Hoang Van Chu, a resident in Duc Van Commune, Ngan Son district, Bac Kan said: "There are still a number of ancient houses in my commune. The houses were mostly man-made. It took a few years to complete a house as people had to saw wood themselves and do everything with their own hands. They even had to make lime as coat paint for the houses."

What makes those houses so special is that their roofs are upside down. There are very little houses with this one-of-a-kind outlook, making the houses a very singular colour in the already vibrant palette of local ethnic groups.

According to Hoang Thi Hien, Head of Division for Heritages under Bac Kan Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the division will consult the provincial Department in directing Bac Kan museum to conduct surveys on historical and cultural values of the houses and then include it in the list of historic monuments and relic sites of the locality.

Ancient houses not only hold historical and cultural values of Hoa ethnic people but also offer a golden opportunity to develop local tourism. At risk of degradation, local authorities and people need to join hand to preserve the houses.-VNA