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Notes on the Geography of Vietnam: Hoi An

Since making UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1999, Hoi An has become an obligatory stop for tourists. The object of their attention: a 16th and 17th century entrepot for traders from Europe, China, Japan, and India. Hoi An's prosperity faded as its river silted. Da Nang rose in its stead, but Hoi An's decline meant that it was not obliterated by modernization.

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Vietnam: Hoi An picture 1

We're coming down the coast from Hue. Here, Lang Co, a fine beach north of Da Nang.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 2

Approach to Hai Van Pass.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 3

The view from the pass back over Lang Co beach.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 4

Fortifications at the pass.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 5

South of Da Nang, hotels rise at China Beach (or, in early 2009, sit awaiting economic recovery).

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 6

Leftovers from the American war.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 7

Hoi An at last: the Thu Bon River. Looks like a tinted postcard from 1900.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 8

Tourism development.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 9

It's been successful.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 10

Trinkets.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 11

Art gallery.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 12

Restaurant.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 13

Some of the visitors spend more than two days--or at least that's one promoter's hope.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 14

Realty office straight from the Caribbean.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 15

Tourists mean jobs, here for a ferry load of workers at the start of the day.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 16

Notice the eyes on the boat?

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 17

Some Vietnamese are doing very well from this new economy.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 18

Probably the town's most photographed structure is the so-called Japanese Bridge, built to connect a formerly Japanese neighborhood with its Chinese and Vietnamese neighbors.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 19

Another view.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 20

Early in the day, the streets are very quiet.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 21

How long has that Shell sign been there?

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 22

First signs of life.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 23

The simplest building type: single ridge, one story, open front.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 24

Built in a row.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 25

Two stories.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 26

Two-story row house.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 27

The palazzo treatment.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 28

Three stories, about as imposing as any of the old private buildings in Hoi An.

Vietnam: Hoi An picture 29

The qualification "private" was there to leave room for assembly halls and religious buildings, in this case the Phac Hat pagoda.


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