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Hoi An

Hoi An

Hoi An Ancient Vietnam

Hoian is consider Vietnam most ancient town and have been exceptionally well preserved. It was a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. The buildings and street plan reflect the influences of both indigenous and foreign. Hoi an is one of Vietnam most unique heritage site.

Hoi An was a traditional Asian trading port and an outstanding example of the fusion of cultures over time in an international maritime commercial centre. The town is a special example of a traditional trading port in South-East Asia which has been completely and assiduously preserved; it is the only town in Viet Nam that has survived intact throughout years of wars. Most of the buildings are in the traditional architectural style of the 19th and 20th centuries. They are aligned along narrow lanes of traditional type. They include many religious buildings, such as pagodas, temples and meeting houses, which relate to the development of a port community. The traditional lifestyle, religion, customs and cooking in Hoi An have been preserved and many festivals still take place annually here.

Christianity in Vietnam

Archaeological findings and excavations have shown that there was a port and trading centre of the local Sa Huynh people along the Thu Bon River as early as the 2nd century BC. This continued to expand, especially during its most flourishing period from the late 16th to the early 18th centuries. It was through Hoi An that Christianity penetrated Vietnam in the 17th century.

The Fall of Hoi An

By the end of the century, the rise of other ports on the coast city of Vietnam like Da Nang led to the final eclipse of HoiAn. As a result of this economic stagnation, it has preserved its early appearance in a remarkably intact state. This is the only town in the country to have done so. This ancient town is situated on the north bank of Thu Bon River. There is a street running east-west along the river's edge and three further streets parallel to the river. They are intersected at right angles by streets and alleys. Within this area, there are homes, shops, pagodas, temples, communal and family cult houses in addition to a ferry quay and an open market.

Hoi An Architecture

The architecture of Hoi An city is almost entirely of wood therefore very interesting. It combines traditional Vietnamese designs and techniques with those from other countries, especially China and Japan. Citizens from these two countries settled in Hoi An to trade and built lives in the community. The typical house conforms to a corridor plan with the following elements occurring in sequence: house, yard and house. The buildings are family cult houses, dedicated to the worship of ancestors; the community houses, used for worship of ancient sages, founders of settlements, or the legendary founders of crafts; the pagodas are almost all from the 19th century, although inscriptions show them to have been founded in the 17th and 18th centuries. They conform to a square layout and decoration is largely confined to the elaborate roofs. In the case of the larger examples, they constituted nuclei of associated buildings with religious and secular functions. Some of the larger pagodas also served as meeting halls. These are located along the main street Tran Phu. There is a fine wooden bridge, reminiscent of Japanese examples, with a pagoda on it. It has existed from at least the early 18th century, as an inscription indicates, but it has been reconstructed many times. There is also a number of ancient tombs in Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese style within the buffer zone.

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