Hoi An has long been a cultural crossroad. More
than five centuries ago the Vietnamese nation of Dai Viet expanded
its territory southwards, encroaching on the Indianized Kingdom
of Champa, which covered much of what is now central Viet Nam.
Hoi An was built on the banks of the Thu Bon river
and used to be a transit maritime port in the 10th century. The
town became known for excellent quality bamboo curtains and rattan.
For a long time it used to be an important commercial centre and
South-East Asia's major international trading port: especially the
natural silk is usually home-made. After the 15th century, the merchant
ships from many countries like China, Holland, Britain, Japan, Portugal,
France, and Indonesia… stopped here for purchasing silk, pottery,
tea, pepper and lacquer ware… Hoi An has been well preserved.
Parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did in centuries
past and the town retains the old world feel. With its narrow streets
and quaint mix of architecture, picturesque Hoi An is a favorite
with many foreign visitors. Visitors may have much interest in the
structure of old houses made of hard wood, decorated with lacquered
boards and panels engraved with Chinese characters and Japanese
characters, like the old Chinese Pagodas and the famous Temple Bridge
built in 1593 by the Japanese.
It is very interesting to go for a walk along the
narrow streets to the Hoi An market, which is filled with wares
from as far afield as India and Europe. Colorful guildhalls, founded
by ethnic Chinese from Guangdong and Fujian provinces, stand quietly,
a testament to the town's trading roots.
Hoi An, the third site in Viet Nam recognized for
its World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, boasts 194 historical sites
including 87 pagodas, temples and communal houses, 82 ancient tube-shaped
houses, 24 ancient wells and an ancient tiled bridge.
Hoi An is a big attraction now for thousand of
tourists to get away from the crowded streets of Da Nang.