Content #078

Fukian Assembly Hall. Hoi An, Vietnam 2008
‘Hội An (Vietnamese: [hôjˀ aːn], formerly known as Fai-Fo or Faifoo, is a city with a population of approximately 120,000 in Vietnam’s Quảng Nam Province and is noted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. Along with the Cu Lao Cham archipelago, it is part of the Cu Lao Cham-Hoi An Biosphere Reserve, designated in 2009. Old Town Hội An, the city’s historic district, is recognized as an exceptionally 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. The early history of Hội An is that of the Cham. These Austronesian-speaking Malayo-Polynesian peoples created the Champa Empire which occupied much of what is now central and lower Vietnam, from Huế to beyond Nha Trang. 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 Champa Empire – later, by the 14th century, the Cham moved further down towards Nha Trang. The river system was used for the transport of goods between the highlands, inland countries of Laos and Thailand and the low lands. Hội An’s importance waned sharply at the end of the 18th century because of the collapse of Nguyễn rule (thanks to the Tây Sơn Rebellion – which was opposed to foreign trade). In 1775, Hội An had been the battleground between Trịnh army and Tây Sơn rebels, and the city was destroyed. 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. Đà Nẵng became the new centre of trade (and later French influence) in central Vietnam while Hội An was a forgotten backwater. Local historians also say that Hội An lost its status as a desirable trade port due to 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. The efforts to revive the city were only done in 1990s by a Polish architect and conservator from Lublin and influential cultural educator, Kazimierz Kwiatkowski Kazik, who finally brought back Hội An to the world. There is a statue for the Polish architect in the city, and remains a symbol of the relationship between Poland and Vietnam, which share many historical commons despite its distance. 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.’ Bron: Wikipedia.