Cua Ong Temple is located in the Cam Pha City, Quang Ninh province, about 220km from Hanoi city’s center. It is known as the only place that worships the largest number of relatives of national hero General Tran Quoc Tuan, who defended the nation against northern invaders.
The temple was built at the beginning of the 19th century, and dedicated to Tran Quoc Tang, an outstanding general of the Tran dynasty and the third son of Tran Quoc Tuan along with the general’s aids.
Cua Ong temple was built according to the Chinese character “cong” which consists of a three-compartment Front Ceremonial Hall, a two-compartment Back Ceremonial Hall, and a three-compartment Back Sanctuary.
Cua Ong temple included three main areas: the lower temple (Den Ha), the middle temple (Den Trung) and the upper temple (Den Thuong). In the lower temple, people observe the cult of the mother (Mau), while the upper temple is sacred to the cult of Tran Quoc Tang. Formerly, in the main temple, people observed the worship of Hoang Cau, a regional hero, but it was later changed to honor the third son of Tran Hung Dao, who was very heroic in the defense of the border in the Cua Suot area.
This unique temple is sacred to the cult of the whole family of Tran Hung Dao. There are 34 statues and statuettes, elaborately and meticulously carved, and with striking engravings depicting various scenes. These statues are of: Tran Hung Dao, his wife (Thanh Mau), the two princesses (Tran Hung Dao’s daughters), Tran Quoc Tang, Tran Anh Tong, Tran Khanh Du, Yet Kieu, Da Tuong, Pham Ngu Lao, Le Phu Tran and Do Khac Chung.
The Cua Ong Temple festival begins on the second day of the first lunar month and lasts three months in spring. It is the biggest of its kind in Cam Pha, attracting crowds of visitors.