Rock stilt houses of Tay ethnic people in Cao Bang province
Khuoi Ky village in Trung Khanh district, Cao Bang province, is famous for its stilt houses built of rocks and its tradition of worshipping the Rock God.
A Tay rock stilt house has two floors, the upper one for humans and the lower one for livestock.
Stilt houses made of rocks are sacred to the local Tay ethnic people, who for many generations have worshipped the Rock God. The Tay still believe that rocks are the source of life and the center of the universe.
People were born of stone and in the end will be turned to stone. Stone in their minds is a divinity protecting them from harsh nature. In the Tay tradition, there are certain days for conducting thanksgiving rituals for the Rock God and the God of the Forest.
Dam Van Vu, Vice Chairman of the Trung Khanh People’s Committee, said “The Tay people in Trung Khanh district build their stilt houses of rocks. Each house has two floors, the lower floor for livestock and the upper floor for humans. Rock is an indispensable material in their lives. Their mills, mortars, fences, and furniture are all made from rock.”
Tay houses are surrounded by rock fences. Each rock stilt house takes two to three years to complete. Choosing beautiful rocks with which to build their house is a spiritual matter. They said rocks, formed deep in the earth, embody the essence of heaven and earth and have a high spiritual energy.
“Our rock stilt houses have existed for a long time, even before I became the daughter-in-law of Khuoi Ky village. They are very hard to make,” Village elder Trieu Thi Mo told VOV.
One advantage of rock houses is that they are warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The location of the house is carefully considered. It should be on high ground near the foot of a mountain looking onto a wide, open space. Each house is often at seven to eight meters high and topped with a yin-yang tile roof.
The fourteen rock stilt houses in Khuoi Ky were restored in 2010. The village has been recognized as a traditional ethnic minority cultural village by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
“Community tourism is developing here. We are trying to improve our facilities and services to cater to tourists and encourage homestays,” said villager Nong Ich Dat.
Nguyen Thanh Vinh, a newcomer to Khuoi Ky, told VOV “This village is very peaceful. The local Tay people are friendly. I was invited by a Tay woman to enjoy a meal with her family.”
According to the management board of the Non Nuoc-Cao Bang geo park, the Tay tradition of using rocks dates back to the 16th century when people were sent to Cao Bang province to build citadel to defend Vietnam. The stilt houses built of rocks were fortresses for the use of the nobles. VOV
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