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Hội An

Coordinates: 15°53′N 108°20′E / 15.883°N 108.333°E / 15.883; 108.333
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hội An
Thành phố Hội An
Hội An City
View of the old town
View of the old town
Official seal of Hội An
Interactive map outlining Hội An
Hội An is located in Vietnam
Hội An
Hội An
Location of Hội An in Vietnam
Coordinates: 15°53′N 108°20′E / 15.883°N 108.333°E / 15.883; 108.333
Country Vietnam
ProvinceQuảng Nam Province
 • Total60 km2 (20 sq mi)
 • Total152,160
 • Density2,500/km2 (6,600/sq mi)
Official nameHoi An Ancient Town
CriteriaCultural: (ii), (v)
Inscription1999 (23rd Session)
Area30 ha (74 acres)
Buffer zone280 ha (690 acres)

Hội An (Vietnamese: [hôjˀ aːn] ), formerly known in the Western world as Faifoo or Faifo, is a city of approximately 120,000 people in Vietnam's Quảng Nam Province, registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999.[1] Along with the Cù Lao Cham archipelago, it is part of the Cù Lao Cham-Hội An Biosphere Reserve, designated in 2009.[2] In 2023, Hội An was registered in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network list.[3][4]

Old Town Hội An, the city's historic district, is recognized as a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century, its buildings and street plan reflecting a blend of indigenous and foreign influences.[5][6] Prominent in the city's old town is its covered "Japanese Bridge", dating to the 16th–17th century.

Hội An is one of the locations set in the opera "Princess Anio."[7][8]



Hội An (chữ Hán: 安) translates as "peaceful meeting place" from Sino-Vietnamese. In English and other European languages, the town was known historically as Faifo. This word is derived from Vietnamese Hội An phố (the town of Hội An), which was shortened to "Hoi-pho", and then to "Faifo".[9] It has also been known by various other Vietnamese names, including Hải Phố, Hoài Phố, Hội Phố, and Hoa Phố.[10] During the Champa period, it was named Lam Ap Pho.[11]



Cham period (2nd century-15th century)


Between the 7th and 10th centuries, the Chams (people of Champa) controlled the strategic spice trade and with this came increasing wealth.[12][13]

The early history of Hội An is that of the Chams. These Austronesian-speaking Malayo-Polynesian people created the Kingdom of Champa which occupied much of what is now central and lower Vietnam, from Huế to beyond Nha Trang.[citation needed] Various linguistic connections between Cham and the related Jarai language and the Austronesian languages of Indonesia (particularly Acehnese), Malaysia, and Hainan have been documented. In the early years, Mỹ Sơn was the spiritual capital, Trà Kiệu was the political capital and Hội An was the commercial capital of the Chams, they later moved further down towards Nha Trang. The river system was used for the transport of goods between the highlands, as well as the inland countries of Laos and Thailand and its lowlands.[citation needed]

Vietnamese period

Japanese town in Hội An in early 17th century

In 1306, the Vietnamese and the Chams signed a land treaty, in which Cham king Jaya Simhavarman III gave Đại Việt the two provinces of Ô and Lý in exchange for a long-term peace and marriage with emperor Trần Nhân Tông's daughter Huyền Trân.[14]: 86–87, 205  In 1471, Emperor Lê Thánh Tông of Đại Việt annexed Champa[15] and Hội An became a Vietnamese territory, and also became the capital of Quảng Nam Province.[16]: 23 

Hội An in the painting Giao Chỉ quốc mậu dịch độ hải đồ (交趾国渡航図巻) of Chaya Shinroku (茶屋新六) ,a Japanese merchants in Vietnam in the 17th century.
Japanese merchant pays tribute to the governor of Quảng Nam at Governor palace in Hoi An, 17th century.

In 1535, Portuguese explorer and sea captain António de Faria, coming from Đà Nẵng, tried to establish a major trading centre at the port village of Faifo.[17] Since 1570, Southern Vietnam had been under the control of the powerful Nguyễn clan, established by governor Nguyễn Hoàng. The Nguyễn lords were far more interested in commercial activity than the Trịnh lords who ruled the north. As a result, Hội An flourished as a trading port and became the most important trade port on the South China Sea. Captain William Adams, the English sailor and confidant of Tokugawa Ieyasu, is known to have made one trading mission to Hội An in 1617 on a Red Seal Ship.[18] The early Portuguese Jesuits also had one of their two residences at Hội An.[19]

Hội An was a divided town[citation needed] with the Japanese settlement across the "Japanese Bridge", constructed in the 16th-17th century. The bridge (Chùa Cầu) is a unique covered structure built by Japanese merchants, the only known covered bridge with a Buddhist temple attached on one side. In the 18th century, Hội An was considered by Chinese and Japanese merchants to be the best destination for trading in all of Southeast Asia.[citation needed] The city also rose to prominence as a powerful and exclusive trade conduit between Europe, China, India, and Japan, especially for the ceramic industry. Shipwreck discoveries have shown that Vietnamese and other Asian ceramics were transported from Hội An to as far as the Sinai in Egypt.[20]

Hội An port in 18th century
The port town of Hội An and its bridge in the 18th century. Watercolour engraving by Jacques Chereau (1688-1776), circa 1750.

Hội An's importance waned sharply at the end of the 18th century because of the collapse of Nguyễn rule, which resulted from the Tây Sơn Rebellion - which was opposed to foreign trade. In 1775, Hội An had been the battleground between the Trịnh army and Tây Sơn rebels, where the city was destroyed in the process.[16]: 28  Then, with the triumph of Emperor Gia Long, he repaid the French for their aid by giving them exclusive trade rights to the nearby port town of Đà Nẵng.

Between 1907 and 1915, Tramway de l’Îlot de l’Observatoire operated from Đà Nẵng.[21][22][23] As Đà Nẵng became the new centre of trade, and with maintenance difficulties, the tramway ended its operations.[24][25]

In May 1945, a group of 11 civilians of the resistance movement, including the composer La Hoi, were executed by the Japanese imperial army.[26][27] In August, Hoi An became one of the earliest towns to seize power.[28]

Local historians also say that Hội An lost its status as a desirable trade port due to the silting up of the river mouth. The result was that Hội An remained almost untouched by the changes to Vietnam over the next 200 years.[citation needed]

The efforts to revive the city were only done in the 1990s by a Polish architect and conservator from Lublin and influential cultural educator, Kazimierz Kwiatkowski, who finally brought back Hội An to the world. There is a statue of the Polish architect in the city, and remains a symbol of the relationship between Poland and Vietnam, which share many historical similarities despite their distance.[29]

Today, the town is a tourist attraction because of its history, traditional architecture, and crafts such as textiles and ceramics. Many bars, hotels, and resorts have been constructed both in Hội An and the surrounding area. The port mouth and boats are still used for both fishing and tourism.[30]


Administration map of Hoian City

Hoi An has two main seasons during the year: rainy and dry seasons, with a warm average temperature of 29 °C during the year. The hottest period is from June to August when the highest temperature can reach 38 °C during day time. November to January are the coldest months, with an average temperature of 20 °C. The rainy season lasts from September to January with heavy rains which can cause floods and affect tourism. The city's dry season is between February and May, when the weather becomes very mild with moderate temperature and less humid.[31] Calm mild weather is now limited to the season of May/June - end of August when the seas are calm and wind changes direction and comes from the South. The remainder of the year the weather is intermittent between rain & cold and hot & mild. Activities such as visiting the offshore Cù lao Chàm islands are only guaranteed to be likely during the short season from May to the end of August, which is the high season for domestic tourism.[citation needed]

Heritage and tourism

Japanese Bridge (Chùa Cầu), the symbol of Hội An

In 1999 the old town was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port of the 15th to 19th centuries, with buildings that display a blend of local and foreign influences. According to the UNESCO Impact Report 2008 on Hội An, there are challenges for stakeholders to protect the heritage from tourism.[32]

A đình in Hội An

Owing to the increased number of tourists visiting Hoi An a variety of activities are emerging that allow guests to get out of the old quarter and explore by motorbike, bicycle, kayak, or motorboat. The Thu Bon River is still essential to the region more than 500 years after António de Faria first navigated it and it remains an essential form of food production and transport. As such kayak and motorboat rides are becoming an increasingly common tourist activity.[33][failed verification]

This longtime trading port city offers a distinctive regional cuisine that blends centuries of cultural influences from East and Southeast Asia. Hoi An hosts a number of cooking classes where tourists can learn to make Cao lầu or braised spiced pork noodle, a signature dish of the city.[34]

The Hoi An wreck, a shipwreck from the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century, was discovered near the Cham Islands, off the coast of the city in the 1990s. Between 1996 and 1999, nearly three hundred thousand artifacts were recovered by the excavation teams, that included the Vietnamese National Salvage Corporation and Oxford University’s Marine Archaeology Research Division.[35]

Another attraction is the Hoi An Lantern Full Moon Festival[36] taking place every full moon cycle. The celebrations honour the ancestors. People exchange flowers, lanterns, candles, and fruits for prosperity and good fortune.[37]

In 2019, Hoi An was listed as one of Vietnam's key culture-based tourist areas where rampant tourism growth "threatens the sustainability".[38] Excessive tourism in the past has also damaged the eco-system of Chàm Islands-Hội An Marine Protected Area.[39]



The city has four museums highlighting the history of the region. These museums are managed by the Hoi An Center for Cultural Heritage Management and Preservation. Entrance to the museum is permitted with a Hoi An Entrance Ticket.[40]

The Museum of History and Culture, at 13 Nguyen Hue St, was originally a pagoda, built in the 17th century by Minh Huong villagers to worship the Guanyin, and is adjacent to the Guan Yu temple. It contains original relics from the Sa Huynh, Champa, Dai Viet and Dai Nam periods, tracing the history of Hoi An's inhabitants from its earliest settlers through to French colonial times.[41]

The Hoi An Folklore Museum, at 33 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, was opened in 2005, and is the largest two-storey wooden building in the old town, at 57m long and 9m wide, with fronts at Nguyen Thai Hoc St and Bach Dang St. On the second floor, there are 490 artifacts, organised into four areas: plastic folk arts, performing folk arts, traditional occupations and artifacts related to the daily life of Hoi An residents.[42]

Museum of Trade Ceramics

The Museum of Trade Ceramics is located at 80 Tran Phu Street, and was established in 1995, in a restored wooden building, originally built around 1858. The items originating from Persia, China, Thailand, India and other countries are proof of the importance of Hội An as a major trading port in South East Asia.[43]

The Museum of Sa Huỳnh Culture, is located at 149 Tran Phu Street. Established in 1994, this museum displays a collection of over 200 artifacts from the Sa Huỳnh culture—considered to be the original settlers on the Hội An site—dating to over 2000 years ago. This museum is considered to be the most unusual collection of Sa Huỳnh artefacts in Vietnam.[44]

The Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum is located at 26 Phan Boi Chau. It includes a 500m2 display of photos and artifacts collected by Réhahn during the past 10 years of the French photographer's explorations of Vietnam. [45]

The Hội An Museum, is a history museum located at 10B Trần Hưng Đạo.



According to CNN, Hoi An is the "banh mi capital of Vietnam."[46] Banh Mi is a type of Vietnamese sandwich, consisting of a baguette, pâté, meats and fresh herbs.[47]

Cao lầu is a signature dish of the town, consisting of rice noodles, meat, greens, bean sprouts, and herbs, most commonly served with a small amount of broth,[48] with a strong resemblance to Japanese udon.[49] The water for the broth has been traditionally taken from the Ba Le Well, thought to have been built in the 10th century by the Chams.[citation needed]

Other regional specialties include Mi quang noodles, Banh bao banh vac, Hoanh thanh, com ga (chicken with rice), bánh xèo, sweet corn soup and baby clam salad are also regional specialties.[50] Chili sauce, Ớt Tương Triều Phát, is also produced locally.[51]

In addition, herbal teas with natural ingredients such as licorice, cinnamon, chamomile, lemongrass, etc. It is also a popular local drink among tourists.[citation needed]

Hoi An Lantern Festival

The scene of the lantern festival

The Hoi An Lantern Festival, a renowned cultural event in Hoi An, Vietnam, is a celebration of light, color, and tradition. This vibrant and enchanting festival is held on the 14th day of each lunar month when the moon is at its brightest. As of 2023, the festival dates coincide with the following Gregorian calendar dates: 5 February, 6 March, 5 April, 4 May, 3 June, 2 July, 1 August, 30 August, 29 September, 28 October, 27 November, 26 December;[52] offering an extraordinary experience to both residents and tourists. Throughout the year, the festival showcases Hoi An's rich heritage, featuring a stunning display of thousands of lanterns illuminating the ancient town and the serene Thu Bon River.

The Hoi An Lantern Festival holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike. It serves as a platform to celebrate Vietnam's culture and heritage, fostering a sense of community and unity. During the festival, the entire town is adorned with radiant, handcrafted lanterns, creating a surreal and mesmerizing atmosphere that transports participants back in time. The festival encapsulates the unique blend of influences in Hoi An, including Chinese, Japanese, and European, making it an exceptional showcase of cultural diversity. In addition to the visual spectacle, the festival also offers a diverse array of street food, traditional music performances, and rituals that engage attendees in the rich tapestry of Vietnamese traditions.

Visitors to the Hoi An Lantern Festival can expect a plethora of activities and experiences that cater to all ages and preferences. As the sun sets, the town's streets come alive with the soft glow of lanterns. One of the highlights is the ritual of releasing floating lanterns on the Thu Bon River, symbolizing the sending away of worries and bad luck, and welcoming good fortune. Traditional music and dance performances are held at various locations throughout the town, providing insight into Vietnam's artistic heritage. Furthermore, visitors can indulge in a delectable array of street food, from savory dishes to sweet treats, making the festival a true culinary delight. Hoi An Lantern Festival continues to capture the hearts and imagination of all who partake, ensuring that this captivating event remains an integral part of Hoi An's cultural identity and the global calendar of must-visit festivals.


See also



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