In the framework of the project “Restoration and preservation of the traditional community house of Co Tu ethnic minority” approved by Thua Thien Hue province People’s Committee on 13 June 2016 according to Decree No. 1279/QD-UBND, the inauguration ceremony of traditional community house (Guol house in Co Tu language) was solemnly organized in Aka hamlet, Thuong Quang commune, Nam Dong district on 22 August 2018. Attending the ceremony, there were the representatives of Nam Dong district People’s Committee, leaders of Thuong Quang commune People’s Committee and those from other communes, representatives of Hue University of Sciences, Vietnam National Sub-Institute of Culture and Arts studies in Hue city, professors and students of Kyoto University, TV station in Hue city and many local people of Aka hamlet.
The traditional community house (Guol house) is an architectural construction valued cultural identities of Co Tu ethnic minority. In the past, there was a Guol house in each Co Tu village in which the traditional ceremonies of the village were held. However, the traditional community house has recently become less popular due to restricted building materials and the modernization of the locality. At present, there are some community houses existed in some hamlets of Nam Dong district. The number of the elderly people who have experience and knowledge of construction techniques has decreased gradually. As the result, it is essential to restore and preserve the traditional community house with the correct construction techniques and knowledge.
The community house in Aka hamlet had been restored according to the traditional method, particularly using the materials, building manner, decorations and architectural style. The house was built by the local people with the total amount of VND 316.860.000, in which VND 125.000.000 is ODA from Kyoto university and VND 191.860.000 is counterpart fund from the locality by contributing the working days and materials of the locality. Those who coordinated the project and supported the specialization were researchers of the Faculty of Architecture, Hue University of Sciences and Vietnam National Sub-Institute of Culture and Arts studies in Hue city.
The main objectives of the project were to restore the local knowledge, to improve the community capacity through building Guol house; to promote the movement to restore Guol house in Thuong Quang commune particularly and Nam Dong district generally; to advertise the cultural identities of Co Tu ethnic minority to national and foreign tourists. After the completion, Guol house will be used and managed by the local people based on the regulation which will be prepared. This is a suitable place to organize the traditional ceremonies, to empower the local knowledge and it is worth visiting.
The successful restoration of the community house in Aka hamlet will be a good model for other hamlets in Nam Dong district aiming to restore and preserve the traditional architecture, contributing to advertise the traditional culture of Co Tu ethnic minority to national and foreign tourists. The physical and spiritual life of Aka hamlet’s population hopefully will be improved through the activities in Guol house. Moreover, the coordinating board of the project hopes that the contribution of the local people and the incoming money from the community tourism, in which Guol house is a tourist destination will be the fund for keeping the restoration activities of the house.
Addressing at the ceremony, Assoc. Prof. Ha Van Hanh – Vice Rector of Hue University of Sciences, representing the management institution, appreciated the support of Kyoto University, the coordinating board of the project, local authority and especially the effort of local people to complete the meaningful construction. Prof. Hirohide Kobayashi from Kyoto University, representing the sponsor, expressed the satisfaction of the project’s results and he committed to keep supporting the community for the restoration and preservation of local culture and traditional architecture.
Some photos taken at the ceremony:
The welcome dance Tung Tung Ya Ya of Co Tu ethnic minority
Speech by Assoc. Prof. Ha Van Hanh - Vice Rector of Hue University of Sciences
Speech by Prof. Hirohide Kobayashi, Kyoto University
Leaders of the local authority and the management institution cut red ribbon
The middle pillar of the Guol house symbolizing the power of Co Tu people