The History of DMZ in Vietnam

What is the way to win the hearts of people in Quang Binh province?

Looking back in history, it took our nation just 200 years to cross the rivers of Thu Bon, Dong Nai and Mekong and reach the southern most of Ca Mau Point. Nevertheless, it took around four centuries to conquer Hoan and Ly provinces, thus initiating a glorious era of land – reclamation. These facts intrigued me during my many cross – country trips and my research into Quang Binh province.

Quang Binh is divided by regional contrasts. Climbing Than Dinh Mountain I observed the profound influences of different beliefs, religions and cults. Travelling from Gianh Gate to Tung Gate I admired the changing colors of the sand. Sailing offshore, I was stunned by the sight of the horizon uniting green forests and the vast sea.

During those journeys, I wondered why this land was not home to famous philosophers. Geographically and culturally, Quang Binh is fraught with more olds, contrasts and paradoxes than anywhere else in this country.

In the Han language, Quang means “opening up” or “extensive” Binh means “a peaceful platform”. Ironically, this steep land has the narrowest land range in Vietnam. The distance from Nhat Le to Ban May, Diu Do villages or the Vietnam – Laos borders is merely 40km.

The devastating power of warfare and the painful fortunes of the nation were portrayed in the book “The Sorrow of War”. Successive tragedies led to a rate masterpiece of war liter in an epic quest. I am remanded of the classic verses by Ba Huyen Thanh Quan:

The coot painfully mourns the loss of its country

The partridge weeps over its nation in the mire stopping for a while, I glimpse the eternity of Heaven.”

The Nhat Le River is among the “Great Five” rivers in Quang Binh. It is joined by two smaller rivers, the Kien Giang and Long Dai. Contrary to most of the rivers in Vietnam, it flows in a South-to-North direction. At the Nhat Le River gate, due to the tides, there are sometimes two reverse flows. The river’s name also contains multidimensional meanings. Some understand “Le” as “glamour” or “radiance”, yet those who are nostalgic for the past presume that “Le” refers to the endless tears of the Chiem Thanh Empress My E or the Tran dynasty Princess Huyen Tran.

The seas off of Quang Binh are not deep. At some points 20km form the shore, the depth reaches just 50m. Yet the former mane of Dong Hoi id Dong Hai, which was said to men “deep sea”. Quang Binh’s waters hide treacherous rocks. Ships are at risk of getting stranded or wrecked in this Sea Kingdom. However, to the north of Nhat Le Gate lies a rock barrier called Benign Islet.

As the saying goes:

Benign Islet is your parents

Who never cease to facilitate your journeys?

Onshore or offshore lie large fish farms such as Dong Co, Rang Cua, Nhon Nay, Hon Nho, and Hon Cao that are overlooked by the mountain of Ke Quan, Dau Mau, U Bo, Ba Ren, etc.

Based on their navigation experiences during terms, Quang Binh people frequently choose to retreat. In face of danger, fishermen will remove the sails and oars to make buoys and anchors. The captain must release the anchor to reduce the ship’s speed and turn the prow perpendicular to the directions of the wind. The prow now serves to steer the boat upwind or downwind. To escape from dangers, some boats flee to distant regions like Thuan An, Hue.

The most notable structure in Quang Binh is the Teacher’s Citadel. From the viewpoint of Dao Duy Tu, the place is an ideal trap. Nevertheless, there are doubts about the site’s military construction. The masterful Dao Duy Tu bypassed the southern bank of the Gianh River and the peak of the Crossing Pass but chose Dong hai as the site of his citadel. No one is sure whether the south- flowing rover was a snare for the Trinh’s army or a stark blow to the enemy’s defenses.

The houses in Canh Duong are built to adapt to the terrain, wind directions and tides and to resist storms. They are built in the North – East. Bao Ninh’s house lies in the West.

In recent years, Quanh Binh has become known to tourist thanks to the Sun Spa luxury resort. Lying 500km from Hanoi, this honors the area’s desire for freedom through the image of the sun. This inspiration was shared by the romantic poet Han Mac Tu, who often wrote about the moon.

Following the discovery of the world’s largest and finest cave system, the people of Quang Binh have the chance to show off their strange idioms, their speech is full of double entendres that hint at the sense of humor of these fishermen.

This article written by Lanh Nguyen from Vietnam Heritage Travel

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