Journey From Busy Commercial Port To World Cultural Heritage

Hoi An Ancient Town is one of Vietnam’s famous tourist destinations, not only notable for its ancient beauty but also for its rich and diverse history. Over nearly 500 years of formation and development, this place was once the busiest trading port in Southeast Asia for many centuries, preserving the imprints of diverse cultures, creating a picture colorful history and turned Hoi An into a world cultural heritage recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. Let’s go back in time together to learn about a bustling trading port in the past.

Origin of Hoi An Ancient Town

Origin and formation

Hoi An was born around the 16th century, during the Early Le Dynasty. Initially, this place was just a small coastal fishing village, called “Cu Lao Cham”. However, its geographical location is considered a “water meeting” place because one side is adjacent to the East Sea – a maritime route connecting the Pacific and Indian Oceans, located on an important maritime trade route, Hoi An quickly developed into a busy commercial port. Merchants from all over the world, including Japan, China, Portugal, the Netherlands… came here to exchange goods, creating a colorful multicultural picture. Some people still stick together for a long time, forming residential communities and leaving behind legacies of history, architecture, culture, religious activities… During the process of living together, through many different generations. , the process of interacting with many major civilizations in the world. From there, cultural and creative sources are constantly nurtured, enriched and spread to each resident, creating a unique “Hoi An quality”. Not to mention, before this period, Hoi An also had traces of the Champa trading port or known for the maritime Silk Road.


Figure 1. Ancient Hoi An streets

The historical period of brilliant development of Hoi An Ancient Town

From the 17th to the 19th century, Hoi An entered its most brilliant period of development. This place is known as the “International Trade Port” or “Old Town”, becoming a busy trading center of Southeast Asia. Merchants from all over the world came here to buy and sell silk, ceramics, tea, opium, cinnamon… The strong economic development has contributed to promoting the development of culture and arts. art in Hoi An. Many unique architectural works and magnificent temples were built during this period, creating a unique appearance for Hoi An ancient town.


Figure 2. Busy Hoi An “Faifo” trading port

Variation and conservation

Since the early twentieth century, with the development of new seaports such as Da Nang and Saigon, the role of Hoi An’s trading port gradually declined. Thanks to the change in role in history, plus many other factors, Hoi An was fortunate to avoid the deformation of the strong urbanization process in Vietnam in the twentieth century. Since the 1980s, Hoi An began to receive the attention of Vietnamese, Japanese and Western scholars, and the unique historical, cultural and architectural values ​​of the old town are still preserved intact. The ancient town of Hoi An gradually prospered again thanks to tourism activities. In 1999, Hoi An was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage, marking an important turning point in the work of preserving and promoting the heritage value here.

Hoi An today – From Heritage City to UNESCO Creative City

From the “favorable weather and favorable terrain” factors in the history of formation and development mentioned above, Hoi An people work even harder to meet their essential needs and constantly develop their abilities. thinking and creativity in all areas of life such as: arts, cuisine, construction, production, art, etc. In which, two areas are invested in creativity and strongly developed at the Association. An is folk arts and traditional crafts. Therefore, in 2019, Hoi An is the next representative of Vietnam to officially become a member of UNESCO’s Global Creative Cities Network in the field of Crafts and Folk Arts. This is a great honor and pride of the people of Hoi An in particular and Quang Nam and Vietnam in general.


Figure 3. Craft villages and folk arts

Hoi An currently has 5 traditional craft villages with nearly 50 active handicraft industries, such as: carpentry, pottery, lantern making, coconut bamboo making, garment making, leather making. ..Including 03 craft villages and 01 traditional craft recognized as National Intangible Heritage and 02 other craft villages are preparing dossiers to request recognition. The professions and craft villages formed in association with local natural and social conditions can be mentioned as: Kim Bong carpentry village, Thanh Ha pottery village, Tra Que vegetable village, Cam Thanh painting and bamboo craft, … Products from Hoi An craft village are meticulously crafted through the hands of talented and creative artisans and craftsmen who have followed merchant ships everywhere, serving the lives of the community and bringing benefits. echoes for this land.

Folk arts also play an important role in the cultural and spiritual life of Hoi An people. After hours of hard work, the people of Hoi An compose chants, folk songs, rhymes, rhymes, etc., which are both entertaining after hard work. movement; while exchanging, fostering emotions and also enriching the cultural and spiritual life of indigenous people. The leisurely melodies on the Hoai River, the resounding sounds of Bai Choi singing during festivals, or the melodious melodies of the zither and monochord… all contribute to creating a richly authentic atmosphere. Vietnamese culture. Visitors can enjoy traditional music at restaurants and cafes along the Hoai River or participate in local festivals to fully experience Hoi An culture.

Historical Mysteries Hidden in Every Street of Hoi An

Walking around Hoi An city, visitors will see the beauty of the city tinged with time by the traditional, harmonious architecture of houses, walls and small roads. Along with many ups and downs of history, Hoi An ancient town still retains its ancient, quiet, moss-covered beauty in every tiled roof, brick, row of trees… In addition to ancient architecture, Hoi An also has works Typical relics such as:

  • Pagodas and temples: Coming to Hoi An, there are many pagodas and temples that were built a long time ago with unique designs left by ancient artisans until now. Tourists traveling to Hoi An can visit Ba Mu Pagoda, Ong Pagoda, Chuc Thanh Pagoda…
  • Ancient house: When mentioning ancient houses in Hoi An, people will immediately think of Tan Ky’s house. Tan Ky Ancient House is an ancient house that has the honor of becoming a National Heritage, and this is also the only place to welcome Heads of State and politicians at home and abroad. Tan Ky ancient house combines Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture.
  • Assembly Hall: Coming to Hoi An, you can visit Assembly Halls with typical architecture such as Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, Guangdong Assembly Hall, Ngu Bang Assembly Hall…
  • Temple Bridge – Symbol of Hoi An Ancient Town


Figure 4. Monuments to visit in Hoi An

To have a more complete view of Hoi An from a historical perspective, visitors cannot ignore the cultural story of Hoi An ancient town.

  • Hoi An’s most unique culture is first expressed in beliefs. Regarding religion, it can be seen that in Hoi An, Buddhism is the majority. In many families in Hoi An, although they do not follow Buddhism, they still worship Buddha and are vegetarian. Almost every family in Hoi An has a Buddhist shrine, which is placed at the ancestral altar and one step higher.
  • Traditional festivals such as the memorial festival of craft masters, the memorial ceremony of outstanding saints, the festival to pay homage to the village tutelary god and many other unique festivals in Hoi An Ancient Town
  • Art, performance and folk games: these are the spiritual values ​​kept intact by the people of Hoi An.
  • Folk cuisine: Hoi An’s cuisine has no faults, it is a place with unique cuisine, even famous among friends and international tourists. One of the most famous dishes that can be mentioned is Cao Lau – a dish that is extremely elaborately prepared. As for Hoi An’s Cao Lau, this dish does not have broth but is simply a combination of Cao Lau noodles, meat, raw vegetables, bean sprouts and a little fatty shrimp, with a little gravy… This has created a bowl of Cao Lau with the characteristics of Hoi An ancient town. Stop by Anabas Restaurant to enjoy Cao Lau and delicious Hoi An specialties, prepared by chef Truong Van Truc – a local resident, born and raised right on the land. old Quarter.  When it comes to Hoi An cuisine, there are truly countless dishes that are closely associated with the daily lives of local people here, gradually becoming delicious and strange dishes for tourists to experience. Some of the dishes that have created the culinary value of Hoi An ancient town include Quang noodles, cauldron cake, white rose cake, pancake, stir-fried mussels or bread… Those are the dishes that have gone same year and month as this piece of land in the middle of the S (Viet Nam) shape.

Figure 5. Some specialty dishes in Hoi An

There are many interesting things waiting for you to come to the beloved land of Hoi An. This place is not only a famous tourist destination but also a priceless cultural and historical symbol of Vietnam. Through many different eras and centuries, Hoi An has constantly changed and developed, maintaining its position in the minds of every Vietnamese person and international tourist. Hoi An ancient town always carries within itself a beauty of peace, simplicity mixed with nostalgia. The values ​​of Hoi An from a historical perspective up to this moment are still being fully preserved. Coming to Hoi An ancient town, visitors will feel all the beauty in the architecture, culture, to culinary quintessence in specialty dishes and even the rusticity of the people here. Hoi An is truly the most wonderful place you must visit once in your life.

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Cập nhật lần cuối: 05/06/2024 07:11

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