Hoi An Ancient Town: Where Time Stops Among Ancient Architectural Works

Hoi An, an ancient city located on the banks of the romantic Thu Bon River, has long become a destination attracting domestic and foreign tourists because of its peaceful, ancient beauty and unique cultural and historical values. unique. Prominent in the picture of Hoi An ancient town is the typical architecture bearing the impression of interference between Asian cultures, creating an irresistible attraction. The architecture of Hoi An ancient town is probably one of the things that makes Hoi An truly different from other famous tourist cities in Vietnam. Not noisy or bustling, Hoi An ancient town appears in the minds of tourists as a place to find old, simple but strangely peaceful values.

Overview of Hoi An ancient town

Located downstream of the Thu Bon River in Quang Nam province, Hoi An is a traditional port city in Southeast Asia that has been preserved intact. Born in the second half of the 16th century during the Le Dynasty, Hoi An ancient town became the busiest trading port in the region under the rule of Lord Nguyen Hoang, thanks to his efforts to develop Dang Trong’s economy and expand trade. trade with foreign countries. Within 30 years, there were 75 Asiatic ships docking at Hoi An port. At that time, Japanese merchants came to sell bronze, copper coins, iron, household appliances… and buy back sugar, silk, agarwood… After a while, due to the seclusion policy of the Tokugawa Shogunate and other governments. Lord Nguyen’s policy of oppressing Japanese Catholics, the Japanese town in Hoi An gradually faded into obscurity. There are still a small number of Japanese people residing here, but the Chinese have begun to gradually replace the Japanese’s role in trade. Thanks to the prosperous development of Hoi An trading port – “Faifo” with many countries coming to buy and sell goods and cultural exchanges, it has created diversity in the architecture of Hoi An ancient town.

Hoi An is a typical example of a perfectly preserved traditional Asian port town.

Thương cảng Hội An "Faifo" ngày xưa

Figure 1. Documents about the ancient Hoi An trading port “Faifo”.

Hoi An architecture through different periods

The history of the ancient city of Hoi An is associated with an impressive ancient and traditional architectural style. Experiencing historical influences and influences from many different cultures, Hoi An ancient town is a place of harmony of many unique architectural styles. The architecture of Hoi An ancient town is special because of the cultural interference between Vietnam, China and Japan. Each house, pagoda, and assembly hall carries a unique cultural imprint, creating a unique and rich architectural style.

Original architecture (from the 18th century)

The architecture of the original Hoi An ancient town is mainly wooden houses with simple architecture. At the time of the Tay Son – Lord Trinh war, most of these houses were seriously destroyed, were restored after the Tay Son uprising and gradually improved to become the ancient town of Hoi An as it is today.

Bungalow house architecture (1770 – 1850)

This is the oldest architectural style in Hoi An, the roof is usually covered with one or two floors. If you want to learn more about this type of architecture, you can visit ancient houses (typically Duc An ancient house) on Tran Phu street. This is the architecture with the oldest houses in Hoi An ancient town.

Nhà cổ Đức An mang dấu ấn rõ nét kiến trúc nguyên bản

Figure 2. Duc An ancient house bears clear marks of the original architecture

Two-storey house (1850 – 1888)

Following the development of Hoi An, shops or merchant families have begun to build houses with 1 ground floor and 1 floor to have more living space and storage space. In the beginning, when the 2-storey house was first formed, the house had a relatively low floor with a small, narrow balcony. Houses built later will have higher floors, equivalent to the ground floor, with spacious, airy balconies.

Along with ground floor house architecture, two-storey houses are the most popular housing type in Hoi An, which are one or two-storey townhouses with narrow width and long depth, creating a tubular house style. What makes these houses different is their square structure. Along with that are soft, flexible design lines. The main materials used to build houses here have high strength and durability due to the harsh climate of the Central region.

Kiến trúc nhà 2 tầng phố cổ Hội An

Figure 3. Architecture of two-storey house in Hoi An Ancient Town

Colonial architecture (1888 – 1954)

In 1888, when Da Nang became a French concession, many Chinese people went there to invest capital to establish transportation and commercial establishments, while others continued to maintain business activities in both Hoi An and Da Nang. But due to waterway transportation becoming increasingly difficult, along with the French’s policy of developing Da Nang, commercial activities in Hoi An gradually stagnated. The houses were built during the French colonial period, so they will be more or less influenced by French architecture with decorative details such as cornices, arches, and the use of prefabricated flower mold components. However, there is an interesting thing that not everyone knows, which is that the colonial architecture in Hoi An was not built by French colonialists but was built by mostly Chinese traders. Sa Huynh Cultural Museum is one of the works that clearly demonstrates this architectural style.

Bảo tàng Văn hóa Sa Huỳnh

Figure 4. Sa Huynh Cultural Museum

Interference architecture

The most modern type of architecture you will see in the old town is a blend of two-story communal houses and colonial architecture. These structures feature both paneled doors and shutters, in addition to other French-influenced elements such as balcony railings, and traditional Hoi An tiled roofing. Diep Dong Nguyen ancient house at 80 Nguyen Thai Hoc is a typical example of Hoi An’s interference architectural style. This project has been the home of five generations of the Diep family, and was built in the late 19th century for Chinese businessman Diep Ngo Xuan, a traditional medicine practitioner from Guangdong.

Nhà cổ Diệp Đồng Nguyên

Figure 5. Diep Dong Nguyen ancient house

Characteristic features of Hoi An ancient town architecture

Each project will have its own architectural features, but when combined together, they bring Hoi An an unforgettable beauty.

Old town house

When talking about architecture in Hoi An ancient town, it is impossible not to mention traditional houses. The most common type of housing that you can see on any street in Hoi An is 2-storey houses with narrow width and long depth. Houses in Hoi An ancient town have in common that they are often made in the form of two roofs, the main house and the outbuildings will not use the same roof but are separated into 2 consecutive roof folds. This type of tubular house often has a common structure with a wooden house frame, on both sides are separating brick walls and the design lines are soft and flexible, not as rigid as modern houses often see.

Nhà phố cổ Hội An

Figure 6. Hoi An ancient town house

Architecture of historical sites

Historical relics also contribute to completing the architectural picture of Hoi An ancient town. Each relic has the characteristics of a culture and reminds of separate historical periods of the ancient city of Hoi An. Some unique historical sites that you cannot miss when coming to Hoi An:

  • Assembly Hall: This is a historical relic imbued with Chinese culture. Currently, in Hoi An ancient town, there still exist 5 Chinese Assembly Halls: Fujian, China, Chaozhou, Quynh Phu and Guangdong. The Chinese assembly halls are all built with an overall architecture including: large front gate, large yard, rockery, two churches and finally the communal house.
  • Pagodas and temples: As the earliest place to develop Buddhism in Dang Trong, pagodas in Hoi An ancient town were also built quite early. Temple architecture in Hoi An is quite simple, because most temples and shrines are located right in villages. However, up to now, almost all the original architecture of the temples and pagodas here have been changed more or less through historical periods as well as restoration and construction times.
  • Clan church: Unique ancient architectural features in Vietnam also appear in Hoi An with the clan church. This is considered a special form of architecture. Because the family’s places of worship are all built in the form of a campus and include: gardens, gates, solid fences, outbuildings, etc. Some clan churches have beautiful architecture in Hoi An that tourists can refer to is: Tran clan church, Truong clan church,…

Because they were built in the same geographical space at a close time, these works have similar characteristics. In particular, patterned lines such as dragon and phoenix motifs and Confucian scripts reminding the truth of life sculpted into the panels of the works are the highlights that create highlights for historical relics. To learn more history and culture, visitors can visit museums in Hoi An Trade Ceramics Museum, Sa Huynh Cultural Museum Hoi AnMuseum of Folklore in Hoi AnHoi An Gem Art MuseumHoi An Traditional Medicine Museum…or Hoi An Silk Village. The museums preserve artifacts as well as recreate the history and culture of Hoi An ancient town throughout its formation and development.

Hoi An street architecture

The streets in Hoi An ancient town are arranged according to a chessboard diagram, interspersed with narrow streets with curving lines embracing ancient houses. The old town in Minh An ward most clearly shows the characteristics of Hoi An ancient town architecture. The map of Hoi An ancient town includes short and narrow streets, intersecting each other in a checkerboard pattern with Tran Phu street being the main street. On this road, there are many important architectural works of Hoi An ancient town including: ancient house system, Chinese Assembly Halls, Cau Pagoda, Quan Cong Temple, Hoi An History and Culture Museum. An…

One of the things that makes visitors excited every time they come to Hoi An is to freely walk on the road, stroll around every corner of the old town, enjoying the peaceful, romantic atmosphere like no other.

Đường phố Hội An

Figure 7. Small streets in Hoi An ancient town

Tourists should not forget to enjoy Hoi An specialties sold along the streets. If you are looking for a wonderful culinary experience in Hoi An Ancient Town, where the culinary quintessence of Hoi An converges in the heart of the charming old town and more specifically, the famous specialty restaurant in Hoi An ancient town This restaurant is located on one of the roads leading into the old town – that is Anabas Restaurant at 29 Phan Chau Trinh, Minh An Ward, Hoi An. When you come to the restaurant, you will enjoy Hoi An specialties made from the freshest ingredients, rich in traditional flavors and delicate creativity of local chefs. . From Cao Lau, Banh Vac dumplings, grilled pork rolls,… to Hoi An chicken rice, each dish tells the story of the land and people here. The restaurant space is designed to be cozy and luxurious, with an architectural style imbued with ancient Hoi An. This is the ideal place for you to relax, enjoy delicious meals with family and friends, or create memorable memories during your journey to explore the old town. ANABAS RESTAURANT Pleased to welcome and serve you!


In Hoi An ancient town architecture, it is an open and harmonious space structure. This is considered a peaceful and pleasant architecture that makes many tourists feel excited and want to come check in here. With the purpose of optimizing living space, the architects chose an open space structure for the overall architecture of Hoi An ancient town. Although the distance between the houses in the old town is quite narrow, because they have ancient designs from the past and look somewhat similar, they still bring viewers a strange peace.

Mái ngói trên các ngôi nhà Hội An

Figure 8. Hoi An tiled roofs taken from above

The best roof tiles in Hoi An are tiles made from soil, thin, rough fired, square, each side is about 22cm and slightly curved. When roofing, people first lay a row of tiles facing up and then a row of tiles facing down. This roofing method is called yin-yang tile roofing. When the roof is finished, the tiles are fixed with mortar, forming strips of tiles that rise along the roof, making the entire roof look sturdy and strong. At the top of the roof, the roof is built high into a rectangular shape like a box. There are also some cases where the two sides of the gable walls are also built high, making the whole thing seem unbalanced. The form and decoration of the gable wall always makes a strong impression and is the element that creates the unique value of Hoi An ancient town.

Admiring the finished product, you will see the tile strips undulating up and down, following the design of the roof, creating a strong, resilient look as if protecting the house, which is very attractive. Especially, you will admire the beauty of this ancient city on the rooftops of cafes along the small streets embracing Hoi An ancient town.

Some buildings bear outstanding architectural marks in Hoi An ancient town

  • Hoi An Covered Bridge
  • Ancient houses: Duc An ancient house, Phung Hung ancient house, Tan Ky ancient house
  • Sa Huynh Cultural Museum
  • Tran family church, Truong family church,…
  • Assembly halls: Fujian Assembly Hall, Chaozhou Assembly Hall, Guangdong Assembly Hall,…

Hoi An ancient town architecture is a precious cultural heritage of Vietnam, containing many historical, cultural and artistic values. Preserving and promoting the architectural value of the old town is not only the task of the people of Hoi An but also of the international community. Hopefully, with everyone’s help, Hoi An ancient town will always retain its beauty and antiquity, becoming an endless source of inspiration for future generations.

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Được đăng lúc: 18/06/2024 01:21