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A Ha Noi lane like no other (part 1)

Phat Loc it the only lane of its ton in Ha Noi. It is unique for several reasons.
Located in the heart of the quarter dubbed: “the thirty six Streets and Guilds,” it is both narrow and short (about one hundred metres) and opens into streets running close to the Red River dyke on one side - on Salted Fish Street (Pho Hang Mam) and Ceramic Vessels Street (Pho Hang Chinh) on the other.
In its two hundred years of existence, it witnessed historical moments and underwent memorable changes.
Early in the 18lh century, when the site of the present street still ran quite dose to the river bank, a student of the School for the Sons of the Nation sprung from the Bui clan of Phat Loc village in Dong Quan district, Thai Binh province, came to settle there with his family. Then came other families of the village, and a new village was formed as the nucleus of the future lane. The house at number 30 became the family shrine of the Bui. The union of villages gradually turning into streets formed old Ha Noi. Those villages belong to several types: groups of people migrating from a village in another region (the case of Phat Loc); group of people engaged in the same craft or trade (e.g. the cases of the Hemp Street, Silk Street and others); an old local village turned into an urban street. Being a village in their origins, each street keeps its own communal house devoted to the cult of its tutelary god. In streets formed by migrants from a village, the inhabitants practiced the “cult from afar” (tho vong) of the tutelary god of the village origin. Such is the case of the people of Phat Loc lane, whose communal house was built next to that of another old hamlet (at number 46-A).
There was a time when Phat Loc lane-cum village was solely occupied by members of the Bui clan. Later a few families of the Ngo clan came. Following upheavals caused by two Indochina wars spanning thirty years, there remains but a small number of inhabitants descending from Phat Loc people.
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Update : 20-11-2017
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