My Son Holy Sanctuary

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Situated in a narrow valley in Duy Tan Commune, Duy Xuyen District, Quang Nam Province, My Son Land is a masterpiece of Cham Architecture which was the central praying and worship ceremony place of Cham Pa reigns as well as a tool to help the reigns to contact with God and Saints. Becoming a unique beautiful sanctuary world of the ancient Cham religion, day by day it attracts thousands of tourists elsewhere.

The Cham people belong to an ethnic group in Southeast Asia which was formed the core of the Muslim communities in both Cambodia and Vietnam. Champa Kingdom developed strongly in 7th to 15th centuries. Even though, today most of posterities of the Champa civilization integrated in Vietnamese society, they still live along the coast of Vietnam.

All of the Cham towers in My Son Holy Sanctuary were constructed on a quadrate foundations including three parts: a solid tower base which represents the world of human beings, the mysterious and sacred tower body which represent the world of spirits, and the tower top built in the shape of a man offering flowers and fruits or the shape of trees, birds, animals, etc which represents things that are close to the spirits and human beings.

The architectural art of the Cham towers at My Son Sanctuary is the combination of different styles including the continuity of the ancient style from the 7th to 8th century, the Hoa Lai style of the 8th-9th centuries, the Dong Duong style in the mid-9th century, the My Son and My Son-Binh Dinh styles and so on.

Among the remnants of many architectural sites were excavated in 1898, archaeologists and researchers on My Son Sanctuary found a 24 meters high tower in the Thap Chua area. This tower is a wonderful masterpiece of ancient Cham architecture including two doors, one in the east and the other in the west. With a system of paved pillars and surrounded by six sub-towers, the tower body looks very delicate and beautiful. This two-storey tower looks like a lotus flower with the top of the upper layer made of sandstone and engraved with elephant and lion designs. The lower layer features with fairies, water evils and men riding elephants on the walls. Unfortunately, in 1969 the tower was destroyed in American War.

The sanctuary consists of more than 70 architectural works including temples and towers that connect to each other with complicated red brick designs. The main component of the Cham architectural design is the tower built with the purpose to reflect the divinity of the king. The main material for the construction of the Cham Towers is brick . However, today archaeologists and researchers are unable to find the reasonable explanation for the linking material, brick baking method, and construction method of the Cham Pa. This still remains as an attractive secret to people.

Even though there are not many remnants left, it reflects the cultural value of the Cham nationality. In addition to, they are vivid proof showing the history of a nationality living within the Vietnamese community boasting of a rich cultural tradition.

Recognized as a World Heritage in 1999, My Son Holy Land is a masterpiece which marks a glorious time for the architecture and culture of the Cham as well as of Southeast Asia.


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