There still exist 43 temples in Hoi An venerating gods, saints, sages and the souls of heroes and benefactors of the people and community. The size of the temples depends on the fame of the venerated person and economic conditions of the community. However, they are valuable collections of folkloric arts and cultural works of the populace.
Ong Temple – Quan Cong Temple in Hoi An Ancient City – Photo from the internet
Quan Cong Temple (24 Tran Phu St.)
The temple was built in 1653 to venerate Quan Cong, one of the three sworn-in brothers in the famous novel “Three Nations” representing Loyalty, Credibility, Chastity, and Charity, the four most prized qualities. The temple had been restored several times, in 1753, 1783, 1827, 1864, 1904 and 1966. Situated in front of the main market in Hoi An, it has been a place of worship for the residents of Hoi an. Many traders frequent this temple to pray for their business. During the war, people came to pray for safety.
Van Thanh Temple (20 Phan Chau Trinh St.)
Built in 1867 by the Chinese Minh Huong who had arrived in the mid-17th century and were naturalized Vietnamese. The temple venerates Confucius, Confucian sages and academic laureates from the region. It was overhauled in 1911. Rumors say any student praying at the temple will successfully pass their examinations. People often prayed here to ask for children and it is said that those children born to those who prayed were all intelligent and excellent in their studies.
Lord Cam Nam’s Mausoleum
Past the Cam Nam Bride about one km is the mausoleum which is a complex of five structures built by the fishermen of Van Xuan and inhabitants of Ha Trung: Lang Ong (Lord’s mausoleum), the Tho Than (Local Spirit), Ngu Hanh Temple, Temple of Ghosts, and the temple of cargo boats. These structures were first built in the 18th century at various locations but fear of landslide has forced people to group them at the present site.
Each structure is dedicate to one personage: the Tho Than Temple is dedicated to the spirit that governs the area; the Ngu Hanh, to all gods governing the universe; the Ghost Temple, to the souls of war heroes and victims; the Lord’s mausoleum, to benefactor whale, the god of waterways; the Cargo Boat Temple, to the goddess that governs the Water World.
Festivals are organized at the complex each year, on the 10th day of the second lunar month and the 15th day of the seventh lunar month.
Temple of the Dead (76/9A Tran Phu St.)
Since Hoi An is located in the lower basin of the Thu Bon River at a junction of many rivulets, floods from the river took heavy tolls in human lives every year and the corpses floated along the river down to Hoi An. They were picked up by the city residents and buried in the public cemeteries. In addition, the war killed many soldiers from both sides fighting around Hoi An. Its inhabitants have built a temple dedicated to all those souls. There is a board hung inside the temple inscribing a verse: “In dedication to the thousands of unknown ghost.”
Nam Dieu Forebear’s Temple (Block 7, Thanh Ha)
This is a cluster of small temples venerating various gods and spirits. The most important of them is the temple dedicated to the founder of ceramics and brick making in town. At the start of the lunar year, folks hold festivals to pray their founder and other gods and spirits to sponsor their businesses and grant them luck.