World Heritages in Vietnam - Hoian

What is so special about Hoian is that this little port town is well-preserved. It offers the most densely-concentrated sights in Vietnam with its old streets along ancient houses, assembly halls, pagodas, temples. The architecture of Hoian is characterised by a harmonious blend of Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese influences. After centuries, Hoian is still respectful of its traditions, folk festivals, beliefs and its sophisticated culinary arts. Set in a quiet environment, Hoian is surrounded by peaceful villages, rivers, traditional handicraft villages such as carpentry, bronze making, ceramic, etc. 


Researchers said that most of the buildings in Hoian have experienced restoration and renovation since the beginning of the 19th century, even if they might be constructed long time ago. The ancient architecture shown most clearly in the Ancient Town that located in Minh An Ward. It covers about 2 square kilometres and almost of all famous relics in Hoian are gathered here. The streets are very short and narrow, having a winding, crossing as the chessboard style. The topography of the ancient town tilt gradually from north to south. The buildings in the old town are built mostly by traditional materials such as brick, wood with no more than two floors. The traces of time are able to find not only on the architectural design of each building but also everywhere like: on the yin-yang roof tiles covered with moss and plants; the old gray mold walls; the pictures carved on a strange animal, or describing an old story, etc. Having inherited a multi-cultural architectures, Hoian must have attracted numerous and talented workers in carpentry, ceramics, and woodcarving from China, Japan and other regions of Vietnam.

For centuries, Hoian had developed into a melting pot of various nationalities who came to the city, bringing along their own cultures. Accordingly, Hoian features the co-existence of indigenous customs and habits and those imported by foreign settlers. There are animist cults, of the Genie-Whale and worship of deities of natural phenomena (such as rain, wind, thunder), but also the worship of Holy Protectors like Thien Hau, Quan Cong, Bao Sinh Dai De, Avalokitesvara, especially among the Chinese community. They hold regular festivals or cultural and religious activities on the occasion of Tet Nguyen Tieu (the 16th day of the 1st lunar month), Thanh Minh (3rd lunar month), Doan Ngo (the 5th day of the 5th lunar month), Trung Thu (the 15th day of the 8th lunar month), Trung Cuu (the 9th day of the 9th lunar month), and Ha Nguyen (the 15th day of the 10th lunar month).


The social and cultural diversity adds up to the uniqueness of Hoian’s inhabitants. Rich in traditions and early exposed to the outside world, the Hoian people feature a unique cultural identity, which has been well preserved from generation to generation. Lives of people who stay there incline to be interior with subtle quiet. In the mind of the natives of Hoian, this town constitutes a large ancient home that shelters a big family of many descendants including hospitable dwellers, friendly hosts and hostesses, kind-hearted women, obedient children and so on. They together form a harmonious community who has lived peacefully side by side through successive generations.

(Posted by Vietland Holidays on 22 June 2017).