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Architectural Style in Sapa

Sapa is not only a amazing destination of culture, cuisine, and tourism attractions but also a famous land for unique architectural buildings. The architecture of Sapa in particular and Lao Cai in general may be divided into two main styles. One is the traditional style of local ethnic groups, the other is the Western style with French architectural buildings.

The traditional style of Sapa’s is expressed most clearly through houses of local ethnic groups especially those of Tay, Nung and H’mong people. Each morden of house is designed differently from another but in general, all ethnic houses in Sapa are made of wood.

1.The Tay

The Tay live on the stilt houses which originally designed to protect them from wild animals. Nowadays, they use the first floor for storage and cooking. When building a new house, the owner will carefully choose the right place. Many factors are considered, including his age and horoscope. On the day that he and his family move to the new house, the head of the family will start a fire and keep it burning all night.


2. H’mong

The architectural style of H’Mong houses is based on one model, regardless of whether the family is wealthy or poor. The main house features 3 compartments and two doors (a main and an extra one) with at least two windows. The house may have one or two lean-toes, however, these are not linked to the three compartments of the main house. Among these three compartments, the middle one, normally the largest on is for worshipping ancestors and welcoming guests and having meals. The left compartment is for cooking and also the bedroom of the house owners while the right compartment is for the fireplace and the bedrooms for guests.


3. The Daos

For the Dao ritual, selecting the land for a new house is very important At night, the household digs a hole within a bowl size and fill it with rice grains which represent people, cows, buffalos, money and property. The family will know where to build the house based on the dreams the following night. In the morning, the family check the hole out to see if the rice is still there – if not, the house will be built elsewhere.


4. The Xha Pho

The Xa Pho live in the houses built half on stilts and half on the ground. Furniture is very simple and made of bamboo or rattan.

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