Saturday, 11 June 2016

The 15 Day trip to Vietnam - The Mandarin Route - Day 5 (morning cont.) - Hoi Han - Strolling around the Old city quarter - the architectural features of the Vietnamese tube houses; the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall - The 22nd of May 2016


We walked along the main pedestrian street that runs across the old city qaurter looking at the architectural features of the houses, which display  a rather strange though unique amalgamation of the diverse influences t was touched by - Chinese tiled roofs, Japanese support joists, French wooden shutters and collonnaded houses with verandas and lampposts and naturally the Vietnamese tube houses, two of which we would be visiting later.

The Vietnamese tube houses have two courtyards; an outer one to separate business from private quarters and an inner one for the household's women. The first one we visited was quite impressive though somber. We sat in one of the rooms with the ancestors' altar on our left as we listened to the provided explanations. It was hard to imagine we had turned into actual guests of a well known 17th century Hoi Han family.

A little bit further on the main street we came across the Phuc Kien Assembly hall, which was founded by merchants who fled from the Chinese province of Fujian following the fownfall of the Ming Dinasty in 1644.The complex temple is dedicated to Thien Hau, Goddess of the sea, who is regarded as the savior of the silors. Presiding over the first chamber she is flanked by attendants who are supposed to alert her whenever ther's a shopwreck. At the altar in the back chamber the founding fathers are represented by six seated figures.

We sat in the courtyard for a while as we were shaded and though that in itself didn't make it easier to sustain the excessive heat it made us believe that it did.

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