Hoi An Ancient Town in Vietnam is considered to be where life is so calm. The flow of time seems unlikely to replace and change the ancient atmosphere. Moss covered old roofs. Streets become colorful with lanterns, all of them bring us to a world of hundreds of years ago. It’s just a simple part of the old town of Hoi An, but enough to make people get lost and fascinated.
According to the statistics, Hoi An ancient town still remains 1360 vestiges including 1068 ancient houses, 11 ancient wells, 38 churches, 19 temples, 43 shrines,… Despite space and time, Hoi An ancient town still retains an ancient beauty. It is a place where one can find vestiges being almost intact. Besides, it makes Hoi An a unique place in the modern chronicle.
Hoi An Ancient Town is located in the lower Thu Bon River, in the coastal plain of Quang Nam, about 30km south of Danang. It is encircled in Minh An ward with a special place which is in the shape chessboard. The short and narrow roads and running bends characterize Hoi An Ancient Town.
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I. A VALUABLE CULTURAL HESITATE RECOGNIZED BY UNESCO
Hoi An Ancient Town is a historical vestige, a valuable cultural heritage of the rare. It’s also precious type in the world recognized by the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. People also classified it as a national monument (1985). The public in the country and in the world highly appreciated it.
In 1995, Hoi An Cultural and Architecture Heritage Foundation was established to mobilize individuals and organizations to assist in the preservation and restoration of the monument of Hoi An ancient town. Specifically, on December 1, 1999, UNESCO recognized Hoi An Ancient Town as the World Cultural Heritage. This confirmed the location and presence of the Hoi An Cultural Heritage in the Cultural Heritage Tract.
II. HOI AN ANCIENT TOWN WITH A LONG PROSPEROUS HISTORY
With its favorable geographic features, Hoi An ancient town has survived and developed Sa Huynh culture, which proves that more than 2,000 years ago. Hoi An had the huge potential to develop foreign trade. The favorable location of the river with many favorable factors such as natural resources, tranquil atmosphere and the harmony of people and nature helped Hoi An become a trading port which revived and flourished from the 16th to the 19th century. Owing to the attraction of this port and the earlier formation of the “Silk Road” and the “Ceramic Road” on the sea, traders from China, Japan, India, Siam (Thailand), Portugal, England, France … came to Hoi An to trade their product. In this period, Hoi An had a different name as “Faifo”.
Hoi An is one of Vietnam’s seaports located on the “Silk Road on the Sea” and developed in the Asian trading system. Established in the late 16th century, this was once the largest trade center of Cochinchina and the whole of Dai Viet, was one of the most crowded trade ports of Southeast Asia in the 16th, 17th,18th century with the participation of traders from Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, China, Japan, India, Netherlands, England, France, Spain, Portugal
Owing to its favorable geographic location, goods from many countries around the world came to Hoi An trading port. Then it is from this trade, domestic goods with famous products such as silk, ceramics, agarwood, Salanganes’ Nests… are shipped to many countries transported to East Asia, South Asia, East South Asia and some Western countries. Foreign goods also from Hoi An are spread all over the country. Hoi An has become the gateway of Cochinchina to the outside world.
III. HOI AN ANCIENT TOWN’S TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE
In the 19th century, due to many internal and external causes, due to both the changes of river terrain, economic activity and the role of Hoi An gradually declined Da Nang boat port development (from the late 19th century). But thanks to that, Hoi An avoids the distortions of a modern metropolis to preserve for today – an urban complex – the ancient port of commerce is relatively intact. These are the relics of the harbors, the old town, the combined housing of the people’s shop, the system of clan families, temples, temples, Chinese congregations, Japanese tombs. , Chinese Bridge and Japan Bridge … Long distance of the process of interference, integration, cultural transformation, creating a cultural nuance Hoi An has both national and indigenous love, both the harmony between the endogenous and foreign factors. born.
Being the only traditional Southeast Asian seaport in Vietnam, Hoi An retains almost over thousands of architectural monuments such as streets, houses, conventions, communal houses, pagodas, shrines, churches, ancient wells, ancient tombs… The architecture has both traditional artistic nuances of Vietnam, and show the cultural integration with Western and Western countries. Over the centuries, customs, rituals, cultural activities, beliefs, as well as traditional dishes preserved along with generations of the old people. Hoi An also has a natural environment, peaceful with small villages, lovely crafts, such as carpentry, pottery…
The most common type of housing is the one or two-story tubular houses – narrow but wide. The house is made of strong and durable materials due to its extreme climate. The two sides have separated brick walls and wooden frames, divided into three compartments with a central walkway. Each house in Hoi An ensures the harmony between living space and nature, so in addition to arranging the house, the roof of the house is paved stone and decorated water tanks, trees. With the unique architecture, the house space in Hoi An is always airy, filled with sunlight, people and nature as a harmony. These provide a comfortable life for local people and the tourists also enjoy the trip to Hoi An.
Winding short and beautiful streets in the Old Quarter are laid out along the chessboard, embracing the houses. Walking through the small and peaceful streets, visitors do not only enjoy good food but also become a part of the daily life of the people of Hoi An, a peaceful and simple life. Hoi An architectural relics complex is very rich and beautiful, so this place has always been a place that attracts domestic and foreign tourists to visit.
IV. HOI AN ANCIENT TOWN’S OUTSTANDING DESTINATIONS
Coming to Hoi An, you can not miss the Japanese bridge pagoda, the symbol of the old town. Also known as Lai Vien Kieu, Japanese bridge Pagoda caught was built by Japanese traders in the 16th, 17th century, consists of two parts: Bridge and Pagoda. The pagoda’s architecture is quite special, tile roof has yin and yang symbol. The temples and bridges are all elaborately carved with lacquerware. This is not just a bridge or a temple, it is also a meeting place of the village of the Japanese traders and locals.
Other monuments, such as the Cantonese Assembly, the Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall, and ancient temples, wooden houses of hundreds of years make visitors pay special attention to the delicate dexterity of the human hand.
The streets filled with shady trees and the smell of milk flowers in October, the small winding alleyway led the way round in the old town, the bars close to the beauty of seniority with the glaze down from the tile roof … has made Hoi An ancient and poetic. Therefore, despite the change, the sedimentation of the estuary and the events of history, Hoi An still exists there, with a beautiful memory in the history of our country.
V. UNIQUE AND RUSTIC LOCAL FOOD IN HOI AN ANCIENT TOWN, VIETNAM
With many specialties, Hoi An has a unique culinary background. Chicken rice is the best dish in the must-try list in Hoi An. Chicken rice dishes sounds to have nothing special, but the chicken rice Hoi An people feel the craving. Therefore, many people said, “not eating chicken rice is have not come to Hoi An yet .” Chicken rice is made from raw and fresh ingredients. Chicken with rice is cooked perfectly, decorate with some onions with salt. Eating chicken rice and adding chili sauce, fresh ginger, and papaya salad, thin carrot fiber is a perfect combination. If desired, diners can add lemon or chili. This is definitely a good food for visitors to enjoy when coming to Hoi An.
Phuong My Banh at 2B Phan Chau Trinh, Hoi An, Quang Nam, is voted by many local people and visitors, “Vietnam’s Best Bread” The famous bread of the world “…And if you want to test the coverage of this dish, you just type the phrase “best banh mi in Vietnam” on google and then you will see result “Banh mi Phuong” in Hoi An. So what makes this famous? Because, over the past 20 years, the store has maintained about 20 different types of buns such as spring rolls, mixed greens, onions, chicken with butter and salad, pork fillet with pate, bacon … Especially, these kernels are accompanied by vegetables and sauces.
Banh Phuong is priced at VND 10,000 – VND 25,000 depending on the type of topping. Thay open the stalls from 6:00 to 10:00 hours per day. It has a lot of staff who are always willing to serve guests. Cao Lau becomes the first dish that guests should try. Chefs make the dish from traditional noodles and serve with shrimp, pork, herbs, bean sprouts, and broth. When cooking Cao Lau, the chef only uses the water from a well of the Cham people on the outskirts of the city. Banh Bao Banh Vac becomes another dish tourists love, and it has another name, White Rose. People cook it from rice flour, skillfully folding over the shrimp paste inside. One family in the old town created the esoteric formula
VI. LANTERNS – AN UNIQUE SPOT IN HOI AN ANCIENT TOWN, VIETNAM
Hoi An lanterns are the legacy of the cultural exchange among Vietnam, Japan, and China whose values and distinctive shapes have become famous. Originally created for the purpose of serving the needs of life, the lantern gradually became a symbol and masterpiece through the skillful hands of the artists.
The initiative to restore lantern lighting instead of electric lighting has brought unexpected results from the very beginning. The light of the lanterns brings back the old time of Hoi An. Tungsten lamps, Chinese-style lanterns are hung under the porch. The two sides of the doors and longitudinal Japanese lanterns float white along the columns creates a world of sparkling. The climax of the development is the “Ancient City”, which takes place on the night of the 14th each lunar month. On the night of the old town, not only the material culture but also the intangible culture of Hoi An is also honored with choral singing, chanting, food culture, poetry clubs.
The lantern is also a very unique feature of Hoi An. The beauty of Hoi An creates colorful brightly-colored lanterns that make the city’s nightlife shine brighter. The custom of lighting on the full moon nights of the past three centuries, but still preserved until these days. Walking along the banks of the Hoai River, the colorful lights of lanterns amazes young people and visitors
VII. LOCAL PEOPLE IN HOI AN ANCIENT TOWN, VIETNAM
Rustic, simple Hoi An people live together with the love of the village. They get through many ups and downs, many disasters of nature to support each other. Many people say that Hoi An becomes the place where people see each other as siblings, regardless of nationality. That becomes the reason why the ancient town of Hoi An for hundreds of years still maintain the street with the small, mossy houses. Besides, the greetings to each other characterize hospitality. Friendly and hospitable people bring you a warm feeling when meeting.
In addition, international travelers remarked that the motorbikes in Vietnam were exploited and used so much. This brings bad consequences for health and harmful to the environment. The number of motorcycles in Hoi An is not much, people have a habit of walking or cycling. From April 1, 2014, the entire city employees will go to work by bike to contribute to environmental protection. This aims to build Hoi An – the city of ecology and culture, tourism.
VIII. HOI AN ANCIENT TOWN BY NIGHT
Perhaps, the most beautiful time in Hoi An is at night. This small town becomes more romantic and deeper, carrying a nostalgic feeling, which is hard to describe. Lantern recovery initiative in the fall of 1998 brought unexpected results. In the evening, after about twenty hours, people in the old town returned to life of three hundred years ago. They turned off their neon lights. People hang Chinese-style green lanterns on the doors. They hang white lanterns on the porch. However, they do not feel uncomfortable at all. It seems that people are going against the flow of time to live with the things that have ever existed for a thousand years
Especially, on the night of the festivals, people usually play the game of tumbling, dragging, …and many other folk games. Tourists, as well as residents of the old town, participate in very enthusiastically, creating a bustling scene. It’s also full of vitality for the city. The gentle girls dress beautifully, vibrate the heart of the traveler guys …
XI. CONCLUSION ABOUT HOI AN ANCIENT TOWN, VIETNAM
Hoi An Ancient Town becomes an important destination for many tourists exploring the Central region, where not only famous historical relics but people friendly, close and hospitable. You should come once to experience the interesting things in the life of Hoi An people.