The story behind the iconic Hoi An Bridge

by Travel Authentic Asia on March 25, 2023

One of the famous landmarks in Hoi An, the Hoi An Bridge impresses visitors not only with its unique architecture but also with the mysteries that it carries.

The Hoi An Bridge Architecture

The Hoi An bridge architecture

The Hoi An bridge architecture

The Hoi An bridge is notable for its unique architecture, which combines elements of Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese design. It is approximately 18 meters long and 3 meters wide, and consists of three main sections: two bridgeheads and a central bridge section. The entire structure is built using wood, and features three different types of roofing styles that correspond to each section of the bridge.

The highlight of the Hoi An bridge is two stone monkey statues placed on the west side of the bridge and two stone dog statues on the east side, also known as the "matching couple." The animals are realistically shaped, sitting guardedly with their heads turned towards each other, ready to protect the peace of the people of Hoi An. Next to the statues, there are Chinese couplets, with Han scripts, that describe the two mythical creatures "supervising" the two ends of theHoi An bridge.

The Hoi An bridge architecture

The unique Hoi An bridge architecture

According to some old people in Hoi An, the balance of the two mythical animals on the Hoi An bridge heads symbolizes the construction time of the bridge. Specifically, the Hoi An Bridge was built over a period of three years, starting from the Year of the Monkey and completed in the Year of the Dog. Moreover, the construction of the two dog and monkey statues on each bridge head represents a way of indicating the orientation on the local area. The Monkey head points "southwest" while the Dog head points "northwest."

Spiritual meaning of Hoi An Bridge

The Hoi An bridge architecture

Spiritual meaning of Hoi An bridge architecture

In Japanese mythology, there is a sea monster called Mamazu (Cù), with its head in Japan, tail in India, and back in Hoi An. This monster often causes earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods in the areas where it dominates. Therefore, to control Mamazu, people built a bridge that looks like a sword stabbing the back of the monster, supervising it to prevent it from causing disasters.

On the geological side, the ancient town of Hoi An was built on the Thu Bon river, a large river in the central region of Vietnam. The town frequently experiences floods, making it difficult for the people of Hoi An and Japanese merchants in the past to make a living. The appearance of the Hoi An Bridge (Japanese

Covered Bridge) was a great spiritual support, helping them overcome the harsh natural conditions to build their new lives in this region.

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Being printed on Vietnamese currency

The Hoi An bridge architecture

The Hoi An bridge on Vietnamese currency

Additional, the Hoi An Bridge is also a structure printed on Vietnamese currency. You can open your wallet and take out a VND 20,000 note to see for yourself, the image on the banknote is none other than the famous Hoi An Bridge. In addition to visiting the bridge, tourists can also experience 12 famous festivals in Hoi An!

Not only is it a structure containing unique architectural values, the Hoi An Bridge is also a cultural intersection of Japan, Vietnam, and China. Although the mysterious stories surrounding the bridge have not been clearly explained, the people of Hoi An still believe that it was built to suppress a water monster, worship the water god, with the hope of preventing and mitigating earthquakes and floods, helping the locals to do business smoothly.

The Hoi An bridge architecture

The iconic Hoi An bridge

The Hoi An Bridge is a place that bears the imprint of time, soaking in the love and fate of those who come and go, and enveloping this ancient, thousand-year-old town. The colors are nostalgic, mossy with a hint of sadness but still full of hope for a peaceful, abundant, and happy future. Despite being affected by the erosion and burial of time, the Hoi An Bridge still stands as a sacred and peaceful place, protecting the Hoi An Ancient Town - a place where tourists always come to visit and pay their respects.

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