General introduction of Hoian
Hoian is an ancient town of Vietnamese people, located in the downstream of Thu Bon river belonging to the coastal plain of Quang Nam and 30 kilometer from Danang to the North. Hoian was renown in the international arena with different names such as Lâm Ấp, Faifo, Hoài Phố and Hoian.
As the only port following the traditional Southeast Asian style in Vietnam which is quite scarce in the world, Hoian has integrally maintained almost all of over a thousand architectural monuments such as streets, buildings, dining halls, temples, pagodas , shrines, churches, ancient wells, and tombs. The architectural constructions carry many characteristics of Vietnamese traditional art and show the cultural integration with Eastern and Western countries. Over many centuries, customs, ceremonies, cultural activities, beliefs and traditional dishes still have been preserved for generations. In addition, Hoian owns the healthy and serene natural environment with lovely suburban villages and famous for traditional crafts such as wood, bronzes and pottery making.
Ancient architecture in Hoian
The researchers assume that ancient architecture in Hoian has mostly reconstructed since the early 19th century. Ancient architecture is clearly evident in the Hoian Ancient Town. Located in Minh An district, the Ancient Town has the area of about 2 square kilometer and is the collection a number of famous relics in Hoian. Streets in the town are quite short, narrow, winding and criss-cross like a chessboard. The terrain gradually tilts from north to south. The buildings in the town are almost built with traditional materials such as brick, wood and there are no houses with more than two floors. Tourists can easily realize the traces of time through not only architectural style with tiled roofs covered with moss and vegetation; moldy walls and sculptural works of strange animals or a fairy tale. It is certain that this place attracted quite a lot talented artisans in carpentry, masonry and ceramics from various regions like China, Japan, Vietnam and Champa. Therefore, nowadays, every work bear the stamp of diverse cultures of many a nation.
Diverse cultures of Hoian
For centuries, Hoian was once the place for meeting and exchange of different cultures around the world. In addition to the indigenous customs of the Vietnamese people are those of foreign communities taking up residence here; for example, stone worship, whale worship of Central Coast residents and worship of natural phenomena such as rain, wind, thunder, lightning and sacred objects (ancient trees).
The Chinese community in Hoian shows the devotion to tutelary deities like Mazu, Guan Gong, Great Emperor and Guan Yin. They often hold festivals or cultural activities of other beliefs such as First Full Moon (January 16 of lunar calendar), Qing Ming ( March of lunar calendar), Đoan Ngọ (May 5 of lunar calendar), Mid-autumn (15/8), Double ninth (September 9 of lunar calendar), Ha Nguyen new rice (October 15 of lunar calendar).
In conclusion, Hoian is intrinsically rich in culture and soon has the cultural exchange . As a result, during the process of establishment and development, Hoian has collected a significant number of cultural features from the outside. These different factors related to society and culture create distinctive features for Hoian residents.