Ancient house in Ma May

Ma May, a rare quarter that still retains several old houses, has created one of the characteristics of Ha Noi. Ha Noi’s streets are becoming increasingly crowded and traditional features can sometimes be hidden behind modern life. But if one takes the time to relax and look around, the ancient features begin to reveal themselves.

According to certain ancient documents, the street is named Ma May because in the past it consisted of two small streets: Hang May and Hang Ma. After many ups and downs, the old street today features many innovations, alternating between the buildings, hotels with splendid lights, and still the old quiet houses. Among them, the most prominent is the house located at No.87 Ma May. The house is built mainly of black gloss ironwood. This house is typical of the traditional architecture in the Old Quarter: It has a narrow facade and a succession of buildings and courtyards. Stepping through the doorstep, guests get the sense of time standing still for centuries. Besides the unique architecture, the visitors are attracted by the moss-covered roof, the silence, the peace of the house, it differs from the outsides life of the bustle of the streets and the tall buildings, the crowds of busy people.

According to the documents of the Management Board of Ha Noi's Old Quarter, the house was built in the early 19th century with the traditional architecture of Viet Nam. It has been restored within the cooperation agreement between Ha Noi and Toulouse (France) and was inaugurated in October 1999. After being renovated, the house is now under the management of the Ha Noi city People's Committee and is a model traditional house in Ha Noi's Old Quarter, which is well preserved.

It seems that the idea and way of renovating the 87 Ma May ancient house was a successful plan as it has become a familiar address of many domestic and foreign visitors. Arriving here, everyone is welcome. For a long time, the one-time owner of the house has been absent, but the architecture and the layout of furniture help visitors imagine the owner’s life.

The entire ancient architecture of the house is divided into three areas. The first building, the first floor is a space to display books, some ceramic products, and a tea table. On the second floor, the most important area is the ancestral altar. Going through a narrow courtyard without a roof, called a "skylight", there are a fishbowl and rockery. The second building, the first floor is also a space to display looms, ceramics (mainly from Bat Trang pottery village), and many ethnic musical instruments. The second floor includes the bedroom and the living room. The room is decorated with tea cabinets in the center area, and traditional pictures, which show the affluence and luxury of the owner of the house. The kitchen and the bathroom are located at the far end of the house. The order of the kitchen is enough for visitors to imagine the virtue of the Ha Noi women.

The ancient house has a unique and precious culture, capturing the values of the life and people in Ha Noi during an important historical period, reflecting the interference and advancement of East-West culture. Thus, visitors and the next generations can imagine the life and old habits of residents in Ha Noi's Old Quarter.

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