Hoi An’s much admired Tan Ky Old House has retained its architectural features for almost three centuries.
Built in 1741, the house on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street has been home to seven generations of a family. It was named “Tan Ky” by the second generation of owners, hoping that would bring them wealth.
It took the owners many years to build the house: 10 years to get the wood to Hoi An and another three for the actual construction. It incorporates features of Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese cultures.
Eighty percent of the wood used in the construction is ironwood, renowned for its durability. Notably, the house’s wooden frame was built entirely without nails. Instead, all the wooden bars are connected by joints.
The house is representative of eastern philosophy: the triple-beam structure stands for heaven, earth and humans, while the five wooden columns represent the five basic natural elements, metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.
A curved roof, a feature of Chinese architecture.
A woman belonging to the third generation of the family. Her descendants live on the first floor, and the ground floor is open for sightseeing.
The house has a skylight to allow in light. Thanks to it, and front and back doors that face the river, the house is filled with natural wind and light.
The stylized “eyes” above the door protect the house from bad luck.
Since it is situated right next to the Hoai River, the house has been flooded many times. In October 2020 alone, it was inundated nine times. In 1964 floodwaters reached the first floor.
Agriculture tools used from the 1950s to 1972 are stored in the house. The two wooden boxes were used by the first two generations before they were acquired by local authorities to keep money and documents.
A bed on the first floor.