After Asean Book Publishers Association meeting in Hanoi, I proceeded by air to Danang to visit the two World Heritage sites below.
Known as Faifo to early western traders, it was one of Southeast Asia’s major international ports from the 17th to 19th century. A contemporary of Macau and Melaka, it was an important port of call for Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese and other trading vessels.
Vietnamese ships and sailors based in Hoi An sailed to all corners of Vietnam, as well as Thailand and Indonesia. It is a living museum as it showcases the lifestyle during the past.
Some of the building’s roofs are made up of thousands of brick-coloured am and duong (Yin and Yang) tiles – so called because of the way the alternating rows of concave and convex tiles fit snugly together.
A number of Hoi An houses have pieces of wood with an am and duong symbol in the middle surrounded by spiral design with doorway. These mat cua are supposed to protect the residents of the house from any harm.
In the afternoon, I visited My Son which is Vietnam’s most important centre of the ancient kingdom of Champa. It was an intellectual and religious centre, and it served as a burial place for Cham monarchs.
It is a smaller counterpart of Angkor (Cambodia), Ayuthaya (Thailand), Bagan (Myanmar) and Borobudur (Java).
It became a religion centre under King Bhadravarman in the late 4th century until the 13th century, the longest period of development of any monument in Southeast Asia. Most of the temples were dedicated to Cham kings associated with divinities, particularly Shiva, who was regarded as the founder and protector of Champs dynasties.
Champa’s contact with Java was extensive. Cham scholars were sent to Java to study and there was a great deal of commerce between two empires. Cham pottery has been found on Java and, in the 12th century, Cham king wed a Javanese woman.
Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to see these places.