Rus Articles Journal

Silent Sapa of

of Sap - “the mountain capital“ of Northern Vietnam. This place, one of the most beautiful on the peninsula of Indochina, could be an inspiration source for architects and landscape designers. In total here, where look, it is similar to scenery to the fantastic movie. Whether it be powerful falls Silver Tkhas - the Bass or a mysterious cave the Underwater palace, fancy orchids or the bamboo wood. And for owners in these poetic places two nationalities - hmong and closed joint stock company.

to Reach

by em Sapy (Shapy) from Moscow absolutely not easy. After 9 - hour flight to Hanoi it is necessary to overcome 400 more kilometers: in the beginning - the night train to the city of Laokai, and from there to rise up the mountain serpentine by car or the bus eventually to come to be at the height of 1 600 meters above sea level. By the way, this road was constructed only 10 years ago, and before it was possible to get to Sapa only on foot.

the Stress from a trip at great speed around abrupt mountain roads is compensated to

by beauty of local places which often allegorically call Tonkinskimi Alpami (by Tonkin earlier collectively meant the northern region of Vietnam). Slopes of mountains “are cut completely up“ by rice terraces, but these “steps“ rather as work of the Nature, than man-made agricultural grounds on which all the year round and locals slave away look.


Earth here not really fertile. Only thanks to a difficult irrigation system mountaineers manage to grow up in a year two harvests of rice

Ancient Sapa French opened to the world in the 19th century. Tired with Hanoi “bath“, they the first appreciated local soft climate and mountain air. At the beginning of 40 - x years of the last century there were already about 200 country houses in colonial style. However, now it is impossible to contemplate them. In 1954 after a victory at Dyenbyenfu the Vietnamese insurgents erased from a face of the earth all occupational heritage, except one construction which became subsequently the summer residence of the Secretary general of the Communist Party of Vietnam. However, quarter of the century later and it was destroyed during the Chinese invasion.

For quite some time now on the place of the former magnificent buildings new appear. However, houses of “montanyar“, that is “mountain people“ as French nicknamed locals, among constructions it is still not enough. As a rule, it is hotels, restaurants or souvenir shops. Main, if not only, an income source at local citizens, generally vyet, - tourism. And most of exotic mountaineers - a hmonga and closed joint stock company - still live in rural areas. In 1960 - x years these children of the nature, naive, far from policy, served Americans as conductors on gorges and the jungle. For what subsequently also paid. After withdrawal from Vietnam of troops of the USA thousands of peasants were destroyed by the intelligence agency similar functions with our SMERSHEM. But despite this more than sad lesson of communication with foreigners, local population continues to treat them very hospitably. And it is clear, except agriculture any trade in hand-made articles is the main source of their income. The most successful took places in the city market. Here everything is on sale: from singing birdies to a local delicacy - long sticks of a sugar cane which need to be smoothed out that then, kneading teeth, to exhaust from them sweetish juice. The same who in the market did not get the place flocks wander about streets Sapy and, having chosen themselves the victim, pursue until the potential buyer is not behind doors of hotel.

By the way, the market - not only the main outlet in the city. On holidays it turns into peculiar “club of acquaintances“ where from all villages persons interested to marry are flown down. Intra communal marriages are not welcomed here and national discord does not exist therefore the girl from any tribe can become the darling. The short and colourful period of acquaintance when young people look narrowly to each other and try to make impression, - perhaps, the most concerning moment in serious process of creation of a family. Further - everything is predictable: arrangement, exchange of gifts and wedding. If lovers from poor families, then in a consent of parents they can secretly become engaged - on a ceremony “find fault pu“, however then will be deprived also of this small holiday. Then there comes everyday life, and they at all are identical. Idleness is not welcomed here and does not practice. Just next day after a ceremony young people together with all come to work to rice fields, carry bamboo brushwood and collect the various gifts of the nature suitable for food, - from berries and herbs to frogs and snails.

“Multi-colored“ hmong

Once Miao (such name is given in dictionaries), or as they call themselves, hmong (“people“), lived on the historical homeland - in China. Until the end of the I millennium they entered Miao - the yaossky language group known in the Chinese literature as Mang. From a familiar spot they were forced out by territorial oppressions from the imperial power. Here it was also necessary to develop them since 13th century mountainous areas of Indochina. Gradual resettlement continued up to the beginning of XX. Many exiles settled in the neighboring Laos. In 60 - e years of the last century under leadership of the general Vang Pao they were even at war with local communists for creation of own state, but were crushed and did not make new attempts any more. The Hmong which came to Vietnam were not so ambitious and peacefully got on with vyeta of Sapy. It is considered that them here about half a million though hardly anyone - nibud can warrant for reliability of this figure: here ever nobody carried out official population census.

Despite ethnic unity, representatives of different groups of hmong externally strongly differ among themselves. First of all clothes coloring. Names of breeding associations, respectively, are given on the dominating shade:“ white“, “blue“, “black“ and even “color“. Their settlements are located enough far apart, inhabitants meet among themselves unless in the city market and from - for distinctions in dialects sometimes can hardly speak with each other.

the Most numerous hmong - black. Way of their life is very simple. They are not spoiled by a civilization and live mainly subsistence economy: eat the rice which are grown up on the fields, corn and the escapes of a bamboo and a grass collected in the foothills Sapy, wear self-woven clothes from local flax. To paint them in ordered by tradition issinya - black color, use leaves and flowers of a plant to cha in which solution it is necessary to keep cloths long. Krasilshchits it is possible to recognize at once - by the paint which ate in skin of hands. To buy something else that it is difficult to make, women sell an embroidery and jewelry and who is more courageous - and opium. Of course, drug traffic is pursued by the state, but it is not possible to get rid of this evil: poppy plantations are broken in the remote jungle - what authorities will reach them? In one village we saw the elderly woman who, without hesitating at all, directly at an entrance to the dwelling lit up a tube. Moreover: having caught sight of us, it friendly waved, inviting to join. We asked our guide whether she is afraid of responsibility for violation of the law.“ No, - he answered, - it is old, it is already heavy to it to work at rice fields, and if that, in prison it will only be better for it“.

Red closed joint stock companies

B other mountain mudflow live red closed joint stock companies. However, themselves they call again - differently - “ky myen“, that is “people from the woods at the foot of mountains“. Closed joint stock company - too natives of China where, by the way, and today the majority of them lives. And here too we face several ethnic subgroups with the distinctive signs. Only this time it is not color of clothes, but jewelry and a pattern on an embroidery.

are famous for
of the Woman of red closed joint stock companies for the embroidery which they do during rest from field works

All women of these people carry on the heads something brightly - red. At some - turbans, a style the reminding peonies, others tie scarfs into which brushes they interweave coins, hand bells, metal trinkets. Local women of fashion very much love jewelry and, without feeling sorry for own heads and necks, carry them literally in kilograms. At those who pozazhitochny, they silver, at the others - tin. Besides, on all you will see Sorong - a long tight skirt, and over it - the embroidered apron. At last, many closed joint stock companies pull out eyebrows and head hair shave. Earlier so did everything, but today this tradition consigns to the past. Men are dressed very simply and are a little lost against the picturesque girlfriends.

While living conditions of hmong and closed joint stock company, in general, are identical, the second are more educated. On the basis of writing of Celestial Empire they created own option - myen where hieroglyphs are externally similar on Chinese, but sense at them other. In each village there is a school where for quite some time now all learn English. About themselves closed joint stock companies with pride speak:“ We sell, but we do not beg as it is done by some hmong“. And you will not argue with it. “Goods - money“ they visually showed the principle. The photographer Valery Alekseev gave to one of local residents as gratitude that she agreed to pose 2 dollars. It was seen by her friends and in spite of the fact that that was the wife of the head of the village, filled up with reproaches. Without having sustained “friendly court“, she caught up with Valery and put on to it a hand a wattled bracelet. Justice triumphed.


But nevertheless, despite some “moral superiority“ over hmonga, life of red closed joint stock companies it is also simply arranged. A major activity - agriculture. They laboriously cut down on slopes of mountains of a terrace where grow up two harvests of rice in a year. In villages breed a livestock and birds. However, meat on their table appears seldom, but as sacrifices to spirits and ancestors of valuable products nobody is sorry. In each house treasured “instruction“ in the form of a piece of fabric or paper where all pantheon of spirits with “the Gray-haired Divine Aged man“ at the head is represented hangs. These images are cherished as the apple of the eye and descended, and agree to leave them only in the most hard times - similar relics are in demand for collectors of rarities.

Krom of the help of spirits of closed joint stock company is counted on the help of ancient medicine. For man`s force it provides a set of herbs with the dried gecko, and for female beauty - with wood mushrooms.

A how many still similar “archaic“ existence on a nature bosom will last - does not know. Recently Vietnam surely heads for mass tourism. And despite remoteness and inaccessibility of mountain Sapy, it will hardly manage to remain away from this process.