Hoi An Ancient Town – Impressive World Heritage Architecture

Have you ever visited Hoi An Ancient Town? Whether you have or not, it’s certain that you’ll always be impressed and remember the unique nostalgic beauty of Hoi An. Only Hoi An can provide you with that unforgettable impression, unlike anywhere else.

Overview of Hoi An Ancient Town

Hoi An Ancient Town is known as an ancient urban area located at the downstream of the Thu Bon River, in the delta region of Quang Nam province. The city of Hoi An is about 30km south of Da Nang, equivalent to about a 1-hour drive.

One side of the Thu Bon River bank in the tranquil evening

It is this architectural style that has helped Hoi An become one of the most famous tourist destinations in Vietnam. Every year, it welcomes a large number of tourists to visit and explore, becoming one of the must-visit places if you are in Da Nang. With the time that Hoi An has existed and witnessed, it is not too much to consider Hoi An as a living witness, a museum preserving the architecture and urban lifestyle of the people here.

Hoi An in the morning with cool, fresh air and tranquility

In addition, after considering the distinctive cultural architectural features and what the city of Hoi An has witnessed alongside the Thu Bon River for many centuries, at the 23rd session on December 4, 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized Hoi An Ancient Town as a world cultural heritage site, based on two specific criteria:

Hoi An is an outstanding example of the combination of different cultures through various periods in an international trading port.

Hoi An is a typical example of a well-preserved traditional Asian port town.

Hoi An Ancient Town when viewed from above with closely clustered roofs

Characteristic Urban Architecture of Hoi An Ancient Town

Old Town Quarter

Hoi An Ancient Town is entirely located in Minh An Ward, with a total area of ​​up to 2km², featuring a diverse range of architectural structures interspersed with each other, such as townhouses, assembly halls, bridges, and streets.

Hoi An Ancient Town, illuminated at night, exudes a dazzling and enchanting beauty

The most famous part of Hoi An is perhaps the old town quarter with its closely clustered houses lining up along intersecting streets like a chessboard, similar to the old street system in Hanoi. To preserve its architecture over the years, the old town quarter is regularly maintained and renovated, especially during the rainy seasons and floods caused by high tides in the Thu Bon River, which can inundate and submerge the entire old town. During these times, residents of the old town use boats or canoes to move around.

Hoi An Ancient Town stands out with its vibrant rows of colorful paper lanterns

In Hoi An, the streets are often short and intersected by many others, so if you’re not familiar with the area, it’s easy to get lost or confused because the rows of houses seem similar in design.

Traditional Architecture

Visiting Hoi An feels like stepping back into the days of centuries past. Despite experiencing many years of ups and downs, the ancient town still stands tall, retaining its ancient and noble beauty as it did in its early days.

The overall architecture is the striking feature of Hoi An Ancient Town, where every house, every street, and every detail seems to harmonize with each other in a peculiar way, as if they were made for Hoi An and you cannot confuse them with any other old town.

Hoi An in the olden days exuded an ancient beauty

Most prevalent here are the traditional-style townhouses, with similar distinctive designs, using brown-yellow tones as the main color palette. These townhouses typically consist of one or two floors with narrow frontages but deep depths, creating a sense of spaciousness and plenty of living space.

The houses in the ancient town are structurally sturdy, often built with a robust wooden frame and walls made of durable bricks. Due to frequent floods in the area, these houses are constructed very solidly and resiliently. This is one of the reasons why Hoi An Ancient Town has endured over time and remains intact until today.

The ancient town is dominated by hues of yellow and orange, creating prominent highlights for the overall look of Hoi An city

In addition to the frame and walls, you’ll notice a uniformity in the roof structure in Hoi An, where roofs are typically constructed with the characteristic yin-yang style, followed by a fixed plastering process. The roofs are often made from thin, red-brown clay tiles, which are characteristic of the region.

When you visit Hoi An, you’ll certainly see this type of house everywhere. Especially taking advantage of the depth of the house, residents often divide them into three basic spaces: trading space, living space, and worship space.

Architectural Relics

When you visit Hoi An Ancient Town, you seem to sense a reverence for deities and religion through the incorporation of various religious motifs into communal architectural works and construction styles.

The typical house you often see in Hoi An

Today, when you come to Hoi An, you may encounter many assembly halls, ancient churches, or temples with characteristic ancient architecture, heavily influenced by Chinese style, embodying the beliefs and worship of the people through the ages. Besides sightseeing, you’ll have the opportunity to explore and learn more about the beliefs of the old town residents, gaining a deeper understanding of their spiritual life, the world of spirituality, and their way of life.

The Hoi An Assembly Halls embody strong traditional and spiritual aspects of the Chinese people

Some international titles helping Hoi An Ancient Town reach the world

  • Ranked as one of the Top 10 most beloved destinations in Asia and among the Top 10 most romantic cities in the world.
  • “Memories of Hoi An” recognized as the most beautiful scene show in the world.
  • Hoi An secured the first position in the top 15 most wonderful cities in the world, as voted by Travel & Leisure magazine.

And of course, to truly understand and experience the beauty of Hoi An Ancient Town, come and directly feel the rows of ancient houses, the tranquil Thu Bon River, and the assembly halls bearing the beauty of a bygone era.


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