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19/09/2019 - 07:49

An Cu: desire satisfied

Before 1945, An Cu was one of the four tong in Phu Loc; (tong is an administrative unit, smaller than huyen (district), but bigger than xa (commune)). It is the name of not one, but two villages: Eastern An Cu and Western An Cu. Besides, there is New An Cu. It is also the name of a lagoon, nestling at the foot of legendary Hai Van Gate.

Lap An Lagoon. Photo supplied by Tourism Board

1. I want to start with tong An Cu. In 1822, Emperor Minh Mang changed dinh Quang Duc into phu Thua Thien and divided Thua Thien into 6 districts in 1835. A lot of phuong (ward), a popular administrative unit at that time, were also changed to thon, ap (hamlet), or xa (commune). As an area originally belonging to Phu Vang District, Phu Loc district was formed, including the 4 tong: An Cu, An Nong, Luong Dien and Diem Truong.

The name An Cu was mentioned a lot in historical documents about the August Revolution in 1945. It is isolated in the midst of such high passes as Phuoc Tuong and Phu Gia, then the best-known Hai Van. Despite its location, the Autumn revolutionary movement fiercely thrived. 

As directed on August 8th, 1945, Viet Minh movement in Phu Loc met and voted for an insurrection committee and planned to grasp the government in Cau Hai.

After the success of the August Revolutionary, the name An Cu became a memory about the time of heroism and An Cu became Phu Loc II, including such communes as Dai Hoa, Dai Nguyen, Dai Thuan, Dai Quang, Dai Hai, Dai Tien, Tan Loc, Vinh Loc.

Lap An Lagoon still boasts its pristine beauty. Photo: NGUYEN PHONG

2. Before tong An Cu was formed, there had been An Cu Village. In 1558, when Nguyen Hoang came to Quang Tri and formed the Inner Realm, Eastern An Cu Village was established. In the 12th year of Canh Hung’s reign (1752), it was named Phuong Phuoc An Kieu Cu (Phuoc An Kieu Cu ward).

In the 11th year of Minh Mang’s reign (1831), the words An and Cu in Phuoc An Kieu Cu were used to name the village which was changed into ap (hamlet) as a wish for “an cu, lac nghiep,” meaning to settle down with a house and a job.

There has been Eastern, then there must be Western. In the west of An Cu Lagoon is a valley at the foot of the mountain along Hoi Mit River. A new village was taking form in Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu’s era (early 18th century).

At the beginning, it was casually called Hoi Mit. Not until Bao Dai’s era did it officially become Western An Cu. It was rumored that in Lord Nguyen Phuc Thuan’s era, there was a garrison at Hoi Mit. In 1774, attacked by the Outer Realm, Lord Nguyen Phuc Thuan ran to Quang Nam in a boat. His mother Mrs. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Cau hid herself there.

The two villages border An Cu Lagoon. The lagoon is about 800ha in area and 15km in radius, and the largest brackish water lagoon in Thua Thien-Hue. It is surrounded by grand Bach Ma Range, with immense and calm Lang Co Bay in front. Trees mirror themselves on the water, blue like jade, creating a great picture of nature. 

The name An Cu itself is also an interesting story. Dai Nam Nhat Thong Chi (1875) initially calls it Dam Sam (since there are a lot of horseshoe crabs there.) Some other documents call it Vung So (because there are many clams there too.) In Emperor Kien Phuc’s era (1883,) the lagoon had its official name An Cu; (some people call it vinh An Cu or vung An Cu (An Cu Bay)). Recently there has been another controversial name: Lap An Lagoon.

3. Whenever I have a chance to go to Lang Co, I like walking around An Cu Lagoon. Nestling at the foot of Hai Van Pass with a winding road, An Cu Lagoon looks like a ribbon of thin and soft silk which attracts people besides the “hero” Bach Ma and poetic Lang Co. Though many restaurants on the lagoon have become highlights, An Cu still has its pristine beauty as before.

It was at An Cu Lagoon that I met a man. He was Ty, as old as I, about 60. Tens of years ago while doing well in Ho Chi Minh City, he (and his wife) suddenly left the bustling city to come back to his village, building a garden as a farm and lives now the life of a recluse.

His 10-hectare-wide garden in a poetic setting and with many delicious and exotic fruits has become the destination for many people. It is said that he and his wife are close friends of Hoai Linh the famous comedian.

Some times a year, Hoai Linh visits Hue and stays at their house. Drinking with Ty in the midst of mountains, hills and rivers at sunset in the summer, I suddenly came to understand the reason why An Cu is now a venue. If the land is good, birds will come.

An Cu now includes 5 towns and communes: Loc Binh, Loc Thuy, Loc Tien, Loc Vinh and Lang Co. Thirteen years ago, the project of Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone with a total area of 27,108ha came into being, covering familiar villages from Loc Thuy to Lang Co. It is now a giant building site of Thua Thien-Hue with series of constructions worth millions of billion dong on the way, promising a real change for the area.

An Cu, Lap An, Binh An, Phuoc An, etc. used to be dreams. They are now dreams materialized. How happy!

Story: DAN DUY

 

 

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