UNESCO-recognized Hoi An Old Town in central Vietnam’s Quang Nam Province has recently received two unpublished photos taken of its iconic Cau (Bridge) Pagoda in the early 20th century.
The two photos were presented by Dominique Foulon, a journalist of a French newspaper called Carnets du Vietnam (Notebooks on Vietnam.)
The black-and-white photos are believed to be taken between 1910 and 1930.
One of them, with the words “12 bis - Faifo. Pont Japonais,” features several people in Vietnamese traditional costumes and a group of half-naked kids standing in the stream beneath the Cau Pagoda.
The other, which looks like a postcard with a stamp of the Indochine Post Office, captures several men and women in “ao dai” (traditional Vietnamese long gown) and “ao tu than” (traditional northern Vietnamese gown.)
The photos provide valuable information on the Cau Pagoda as well as the way Hoi An locals dressed in the early 20th century.
Also known as Japanese Bridge or Lai Vien Kieu, the bridge was constructed around the 17th century by Japanese merchants.
In 1653, the pagoda was erected on top of the bridge, giving birth to its name Bridge Pagoda. The pagoda has since become one of Hoi An Old Town’s cultural icons.
In 1999, Hoi An was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO for being a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port from the 15th to 19th centuries, and for housing buildings with a unique blend of local and foreign influences.
Since then, Hoi An has been voted one of the top tourist destinations in the world by several tourism magazines.
It was chosen as the world’s best tourism place by UK tourism magazine Wanderlust in January 2013.
The town also ranked second on the Top 10 Asian Cities list by prestigious American tourism magazine Condé Nast Traveler in October 2013.