The ancient city of Hoi An, about 25 kilometers southeast of Da Nang, on the banks of the Song Thu Bon (Thu Bon river). This charming town was in the past a prosperous port and meeting point between East and West in what during the time of the Nguyen lords .
Hoi An is mentioned in the writings of Western travelers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with the name Faifo or Hai Po.
At the beginning of the 16th century, the Portuguese arrived to explore the coast of Hoi An . Then the Chinese, the Japanese, the Dutch, the British and the French, with them came the first missionaries: Italians, Portuguese, French and Spanish. One of them was the French Jesuit Alexandre de Rhodes, who introduced the Latin alphabet into the Vietnamese language.
For several centuries, Hoi An was one of the most active commercial ports in Southeast Asia and an important center of cultural exchange between East and West.
Today Hoi An is a quiet town of about 75,000 inhabitants, of which 12,000 live in the old town, which has been restored and renovated. Many of the older houses, built with wooden beams, carved doors and open and airy rooms, are now souvenir shops that look like museums.
The oldest part of the city is the southern sector, on the banks of the SongThu Bon. The street Le Lo i that runs perpendicular to the river, was the first, traced four centuries ago.
The Japanese district, with its covered bridge and its Japanese-style shops and houses, grew half a century later on the west side of the city, followed by the Cantonese district 50 years later.
Hoi An’s past is magnificently preserved in its architecture. The old town is a fascinating mix of temples, pagodas, communal houses, sanctuaries, clan residences, shops and homes.