Hoi An, an ancient port on the Silk Road • Vietnam

"Discover in less than 14 minutes Hoi An, Vietnamese jewel. Explore the Chua Cau Pagoda Bridge, immerse yourself in the bustling market and stroll through the historic alleys. Admire the picturesque countryside and enrich yourself with the history of this ancient port city. Hoi An: an unspoiled treasure of the past, an adventure awaits you. Discover it now!"

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Vietnam & Cambodia • 2014

vimeo chapterA click on this icon above displays the list of chapters of this film about Vietnam. A click on a dot goes directly to a chapter.

Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.
Chapters: 

00:01 • Thu Bon river

02:08 • Chua Cau, Japanese bridge-pagoda

04:08 • at the market

06:32 • the city and it's houses

11:54 • the surrounding countryside

 

Hoi An 

If the city of Hoi An south of Da Nang in Vietnam is nowadays a city of medium importance, it was once a leading city and a rich trading port, located on one of the silk roads. 

Its golden age began in the 15th century with the establishment of an important network of trading posts and the installation in the city of wealthy merchants who built magnificent houses. However, the activity of the port of Hoi An (city known in the French colonial registers under the name of Faifo) located at the mouth of the Thu Bon river declined towards the end of the 19th century with the silting up of this river. . As the sandy port was no longer in a condition to receive the many boats loaded with multiple goods, the trade was going to move to Da Nang, about thirty kilometers further north. 

 

The city of Hoi An has superbly preserved its architectural and cultural heritage inherited from its heyday of past centuries. The city is magnificent and it is likely that its economic decline at the end of the 19th century helped it to preserve the remains from the various cultures that lived together during its glory days as well as its traditional urban fabric. 

Thus, one of the most emblematic monuments of the city is the Chua Cau pagoda, built on a Japanese covered bridge dating from 1593 and offered to the city by a wealthy Japanese merchant in order to bring the Chinese and Japanese communities closer to the city. 

The economic activity that seems to predominate these days in this historic city is the making of clothes in record time. Made-to-measure garments, of good quality and at unbeatable prices, are produced in nearly 24 hours. Entire streets where each house is home to very talented tailors. 

 

The charm of its houses painted in yellow or turquoise reflecting in the waters of the river is an important attraction for this city very frequented by tourists. 

 

The city is surrounded by rice fields and many tourists take advantage of the proximity of these dream landscapes to visit the surroundings by bike. Numerous buffaloes often accompanied by small white waders feed and fertilize the rice fields and are a permanent sight for nature lovers. 

 

History of Hoi An 

 

The Cham people of Malay-Polynesian origin, who created the Champa empire, controlled the lucrative spice trade during the Middle Ages in Europe, from the 7th to the 10th century. Hoi An was the economic capital of this powerful empire in the region. Many wars have opposed the Cham to other peoples of the region, such as the Khmers or the Vietnamese. 

A peace treaty was signed in 1306 under which the Cham ceded two provinces to the King of Vietnam in return for a lasting peace. 

The Emperor of Vietnam annexed Champa nearly two centuries later, making Hoi An a Vietnamese city, capital of Quang Nam province. 

The first European explorers, in this case the Portuguese Antonio de Faria arrived towards the end of the 16th century, when Vietnam was under the control of the powerful Nguyen dynasty, very interested in commercial activities. The Nguyens have worked for the development of Hoi An, making it one of the main commercial ports of the China Sea. With the arrival of the Portuguese, Hoi An became a link in the commercial chain between China, Japan and Europe. 

The decline of the Nguyen dynasty corresponds to the beginning of that of Hoi An which was destroyed in 1775 following a war against the Tay Son, opposed to trade with the exterior. 

Subsequently, another emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, Gia Long appealed to the French for military aid and offered them the trading rights of the port of Da Nang as payment. Da Nang quickly supplanted Hoi An, which was relegated to the rank of fishing village, which in the end earned it to be withdrawn from the appetites of successive invaders, largely explaining the remarkable current state of conservation of the locality.

 

Music:

 - YouTube video library - A Revelation

 - YouTube video library - Constancy Part 2 - The Descent, (© Constancy Part 2 - The Descent by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100774

Artist: http://incompetech.com/)

 - YouTube video library - Dreamy Flashback, (© Dreamy Flashback by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100532

Artist: http://incompetech.com/)

 - YouTube video library - I knew a Guy - Kevin McLeod, (© I Knew a Guy by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100199

Artist: http://incompetech.com/)

 - YouTube video library - Lurking Shadows

 - YouTube video library - Outcast

Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of vietnamese traditional music in "Hoi An, an ancient port on the Silk Road • Vietnam", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

What's the weather like in Hoi An?

about the place, Hoi An:

Hoi An is a city of medium importance from the point of view of its population since it has about 120,000 inhabitants. Located about thirty kilometers south of Da Nang at the mouth of the Thu Bon River, the ancient town of Hoi An is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was once a very prosperous port, a typical example of a Far Eastern port.

 

Spoken comments in the film: 

Once one of the most important ports on the China Sea, political and natural circumstances led to its decline and made it what Hoi An is today: a medium-sized tourist town with an exceptionally well-preserved heritage. 

The silting up of the port towards the end of the 19th century as well as political negotiations with France a few decades earlier greatly favored Da Nang to the detriment of Hoi An.

 

The Chua Cau bridge-pagoda is the symbol of a certain harmony which reigned between the communities at the time of the glory of Hoi An. The bridge was built in 1593 by a Japanese merchant in order to facilitate the exchanges between the Japanese and Chinese districts , and in 1653 a pagoda was erected on the bridge, making it a virtually unique monument. The bridge was rebuilt at the beginning of the 19th century and restored several times thereafter. A couple of statues guard both ends. On one side monkeys and on the other dogs.

 

Southeast Asia is renowned for the excellence of its gastronomy, and this quality is largely due to the freshness of its ingredients. In Hoi An as elsewhere, lively markets offer something to delight the taste buds, after having delighted the eyes of photographers...

 

Hoi An is one of the most visited cities in central Vietnam. A certain poetry emerges from its old houses with ocher painted walls and from these lanterns which adorn practically all the streets.

 

Built on the ruins of a more modest temple built by Vietnamese Buddhists, the temple was rebuilt in 1697 by Chinese families to serve as an assembly hall for the Chinese community of Fujian in Hoi An. The communal house of the Fujian congregation became later the Phuc Kien pagoda, dedicated to the goddess of the sea. Its architecture is remarkable, both outside and inside.

 

If the old town of Hoi An, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is magnificent, the surrounding countryside is also worth a visit. Rice fields with buffaloes lounging there, often accompanied by small white waders who rid them of their parasites, as well as bucolic cemeteries are a feast for the eyes. The Vietnamese care more about the beauty of their tombs than that of the houses where they lived during their lifetime... and then there is the mouth of the river with its fishermen, and for the amateurs, the pretty beaches are not lacking neither.

in the streets, Hoi An • Vietnam
Phuc Kien Pagoda, Hoi An • Vietnam

Phuc Kien Pagoda

a typical city street, Hoi An • Vietnam

a typical city street

a boat on the Thu Bon River, Hoi An • Vietnam

a boat on the Thu Bon River

buffalo in the countryside, Hoi An • Vietnam

buffalo in the countryside

Hoi An, Vietnam

© 2020 - 2024 • Jean-Marie Putz, PutzProductions