The historic site - An Lu Temple (Thuy Nguyen District)  

In the minds of Vietnamese people in general and Hai Phong people in particular, ancient temples are sacred places to preserve the traditions and cultural identities of their homeland. Typical among them is An Lu Temple in An Lu Commune, Thuy Nguyen District, Hai Phong City, where the famous physician Tue Tinh is worshipped.

The old historic database collected in locality showed that: in the period of 1370 - 1377, the great-grandfather of Pham family named Viet Trinh was a merchant and led 5 people with the following families: Bui, Nguyen, Vu, and Hoang through the east land of Thuy Duong District, and he realized that this land area was spacious while the population was still very sparse. They immediately discussed and agreed to establish a new living area. The genealogies of these relocated families have been handed down by descendant generations to honor the great ancestor Pham Viet Trinh who was the pioneer in the exploration and organization of this land area to establish An Lu village as today.

After 7 years of emigrating people to the village along Cam River, many people suffered from diseases and illnesses. When calmly thinking about their hometown, they remembered a herbal medicine that was roasted and put on the ground, then made into decoctions. The remedy was handed down by the great physician Tue Tinh, then everyone followed this advice; and indeed, the epidemic was checked, and the local people lived in peace. That year, in Sim field, villagers built a small temple to worship the great physician and named the village An Lu which means the peaceful village.

Over time, the original relic was destroyed by wars and harsh nature. In early 1948, An Lu villagers organized the procession of the great physician Tue Tinh to worship alongside national hero Tran Quoc Tuan and his sons at An Bach Temple which is the place at the current relic location. The statue of the great physician Tue Tinh was carved by folk artists with skillful hands and Vietnamese traditional arts. The statue size was close to the real person in the style of a round and solemn statue in the civil Mandarin uniform of the late 19th century.

Not only having respectable historical values, but An Lu Temple is also a valuable architectural and artistic relic. The architectural parts are in harmony with sophisticated carvings, horizontal lacquered boards, wooden panels, and precious artefacts such as dragon thrones, sacred statutes, horizontal lacquered boards, wooden panels, scriptures... dating back to the end of the Nguyen Dynasty. All exquisite wood carvings are still preserved well.

In addition, the temple also preserves Ban Huyen Bell castled in 1880, this is the bell of the Literature Temple of Thuy Nguyen District located in An Lu Commune. There are 7 title ordinations before 1938 kept at An Lu Temple.

The temple has a particularly important role in the spiritual and cultural life of the people of An Lu Commune, Thuy Nguyen District. Typically, at the relic area of An Lu temple every year, festivals are often held for people to show their respects.

An Lu Village Traditional Festival is held on November 11th according to the lunar calendar. Depending on the annual conditions, An Lu Temple Festival can be organized for 3 to 5 days. The special thing for both Thuy Nguyen District and An Lu Village is that in addition to the memorial festival of the great physician taking place at the temple, the cultural traditions with local identities are also preserved such as the ancient market on the morning of the first day of Lunar New Year with a lot of local products and other regional ones.

Because of its historical and artistic values, An Lu Temple is known as a sacred temple with four incense-lit seasons and was ranked as a historical and cultural relic by the State in 1990, becoming a highlight of Hai Phong tourism./.

EDITOR