Le Hoang

Nom Village is a rustic place with an entrance gate, a banyan tree, a water well, a communal house’s courtyard, temples, and pagodas that are hundreds of years old.

Nom Village

The word Nom means a simple, rustic and easily understood expression. Nom Village lives up to its name as a rustic and peaceful spot in the Kinh Bac (Northern) region, dubbed the cradle of the ancient Viet culture. 

Nom Village lies approximately 30km from Hanoi, Bac Ninh, and Hai Duong. This proximity to urban areas explains why Nom villagers have been engaged in trade and industry for generations, be it trading along the Thien Duc River, copper casting, or dealing in scrap metal. No matter where villagers work, the village is considered a safe haven to which they return after every business trip. 

Modernity has deprived many villages of elements typical to Vietnam’s northern countryside. However, Nom Village has managed to retain its entrance gate, banyan tree, water well, ponds, temples, and pagodas that have stood for centuries. 

The highlight of Nom Village is three lakes positioned alongside the village and surrounded by clan-worshipping houses. Strolling around the lakes, one may become familiar with the people who have spent their whole lives in this village through their clan-worshipping houses. The architecture and sizes of these worshipping-houses are traditional and almost identical. What sets each apart are the decorations in the form of various embossed patterns. 

Nom Village’s “square” is found at the end of the lake-side village path. It is a spacious courtyard in front of an ancient temple whose moss-covered tiled roof is hidden under the canopy of an ancient banyan tree – a surreal and classic beauty. The temple worships Saint Tam Giang, a legendary general dubbed the “Great Heroic Defender of the Country” (“Ho quoc Phuc than”). The temple houses valuable artifacts dating back to the era between the Le and Nguyen dynasties.

Nom Temple

Nom villagers are nostalgic. Though well-off thanks to their trading activities, villagers have not allowed high-rises to be built in the village’s center, but have preserved it as a tranquil space amidst nature. In this way, the villagers are preserving the soul of the countryside. Villagers invest the fruits of their businesses in the education of their children so that they will also become successful business people. All of the ancient houses preserved here today were once owned by wealthy folk, back in the day. The construction of the temples and pagodas was made possible by investments made by their children to express their gratitude to the ancestors. 

Legend has it that the villagers unanimously agreed to lay bricks instead of pouring cement when the village paths were being renovated, despite the significantly higher costs. The brick paths convey an age-old marriage custom. Upon getting married, villagers were required to donate 200 bricks to the village to serve as paving materials. The village’s brick paths form the memories and symbols of many couples’ unions. 

Nom Village is also known for its nine-span stone bridge, which crosses the Thien Duc River. While these green stone bridges were once common in the Northern region, only a few remain intact today, including the one in Nom Village. On the other side of the stone bridge lies Nom Pagoda, also known as Linh Thong Co Tu (which roughly means “an ancient pagoda that has stood for thousands of years in the pine forest”). Set beneath a hundred-year-old silk-cotton tree, its grand yet balanced three-entrance gate evokes the entrance to the land of Buddha. 

Nine-span stone bridge has survived in Nom Village

This ancient pagoda’s layout is typical of pagodas found in the Northern region: a front hall, incense-burning hall, upper hall, and ancestor-worshipping corridors. It is also where precious tangible and intangible cultural assets are kept, particularly 122 enigmatic terracotta statues. These statues have stood the test of time and witnessed various historical upheavals and natural calamities. A large space in the pagoda is dedicated to a project to preserve an ancient longan tree, an exclusive specialty of Hung Yen.

The villagers host a festival on the 11th  and 12th days of the first lunar month to pay homage to the village saint, maintain a traditional custom, and bring their offspring home to pay tribute to their forefathers, etc. Nom villagers also take this opportunity to show friends and visitors their invaluable asset – an ancient village imbued with the soul of the Northern countryside.