One of the long-history assembly halls, which has a great contribution to the bold architecture of Hoi An Ancient Town is definitely the Cantonese Assembly Hall. With the unique architectural style of the Chinese, as well as being located in the heart of the ancient town, it is not surprising that the assembly hall attracts a large number of domestic and international tourists during their Hoi An tours to visit and learn about this interesting destination.
The Cantonese Assembly Hall
Located at no. 176 Tran Phu Street, which is close to the Bridge Pagoda, there is no difficulty for visitors to stop over in this unique architecture. In terms of the history of the Cantonese Assembly Hall, it was built around the end of the 18th century. From the 15th to the 19th century, Hoi An is one of the main ports of the country, thus, attracts a lot of Chinese coming here to settle down and start their own business. And a merchant association in Guangdong, China, once having come here, had decided to build an assembly hall in 1885 to make it a place of belief and a gathering of community activities where people can meet regularly to help each other in business as well as other life needs.
The main hall
The Cantonese Assembly Hall in Hoi An is also known as the Quang Trieu Assembly Hall or Ong Pagoda because inside the assembly hall, people worship Quan Cong – a Chinese general who symbolizes the six words “trung, nghia, tin, tri, nhan, dung”. Those six words are the necessary ethics for the merchant to do a successful business. Being built in the unique architecture in the shape of the word – “quoc” from wood and stone materials, the Assembly Hall is a closed project with the gate, a large garden decorated with many plants, the East and West buildings, the main hall and a backyard, etc., which is quite similar to other assembly halls in Hoi An.
Space to worship Quan Cong
If you go on a Hoi An tour, you will have a tour guide explain in details the Cantonese Assembly from the whole architecture to the historical points. The first one is the Tam Quan Gate on Tran Phu Street, which is made of stone and is carved very delicately with mascots such as dragons, phoenix, unicorn, etc. and also other graphics on the pillars. Stepping into the courtyard, you will see a fountain curved in a majestic dragon statue. In addition, you can visit two East and West buildings in the quite simple architecture connecting the main hall and the front hall. The garden decorated with many ornamental trees, bonsai trees, and the fountain looks extremely cool and harmonious.
Dragon statue fountain
In the middle of the Cantonese Assembly Hall of Hoi An, there is the main hall divided into three main areas: the middle to worship Quan Cong, two are on both sides to worship Phuoc Duc Chanh Than and Tai Bach Tinh Quan. Beside those, many history books have recorded that previously, in the year of 1885, people worshiped Thien Hau and Confucius but since 1911, they moved to worship Quan Cong and “tien hien”. The airy space, decorated in harmony with the system of large rafters is undoubtedly the highlight of this must-see destinations in Hoi An. In particular, in Cantonese Assembly Hall, there are many valuable artifacts made of ceramic such as four precious large paintings, a bronze urn in 1.6m high and 0.6m wide, simulated statues and images of plays, records of the life of the Cantonese community here.
Precious artifacts preserved in the Cantonese Assembly Hall
Every year, on the 15th of the first lunar month of the lunar calendar, the Cantonese Assembly Hall in Hoi An holds the Nguyen Tieu festival, with traditional ritual sacrifices to wish for a successful New Year. On the 24th of lunar June, the Quan Cong festival will take place to pay tribute to the talented general. Most of the festivals are to commemorate the contributors to the community as well as to preserve Hoi An culture. Therefore, during their Hoi An group tour, many visitors have come to learn about those beliefs here.
If you have a chance to travel to the ancient town, in addition to other famous places, remember to visit the Cantonese Assembly Hall with more than 100 years of existence to be able to explore the Chinese traditions, pray peace for yourself and your family at the main hall and admire the unique architecture of this assembly hall.