Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hanoi Opera House - A Truly Beautiful Building

Hanoi Opera House is a worthy artistic centre, a cultural and architectural relic of the capital Hanoi. This is truly a beautiful building in Hanoi.

Looking down Trang Tien Street, you can see Hanoi Opera House standing strongly, deserving to be one of Hanoi's grandest buildings.
Hanoi opera house
Built by the French in 1911, and renovated in the late 1990s, this is an incredible building. Hanoi Opera House is an old theatre with French architecture and typical Gothic and Mosaic characters reflected on the door domes and the glassed room respectively. The facade is colonial French with pillars and balconies overlooking the city center. The 900-seat opera house plays host to visiting foreign performances as well as Vietnamese symphonies. The exterior is a delightful mix of French neo-classical design with shuttered windows, wrought iron balconies and tiles friezes.
For a long time, Hanoi Opera House has been a rendezvous for those who love theatrical performance and traditional songs and music, symphonies, opera and classical opera. It is also a tourist attraction for local and foreign visitors.
History of Hanoi Opera house
Hanoi Opera House is a great construction built by the French Colonialist Government during the early years of the 20th century. Harley and Broyer were designers. This design was much modified by ideas of some architects. The work was started on june, 7th, 1901, undertaken by a local supervisor - Harley Architect. Mr Travary and Savelon were in charge of the construction. The work, the peak of which is 34 meters above the ground, was carried out in a total area of 2600 square meters with the 87-meter length and 30-meter width. The designers consulted Corankta Greek ancient architecture in combination with Tuylory Castle and Opera de Paris to form a unique architecture.
Hanoi Opera House has a great value in history, architecture as well as its use. It was a historical evidence of Vietnamese social and cultural development under French rule, a vestige for an architectural development stage dating back to the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries in Vietnam. The theatre has seen many significant historical events associated to the August Revolution and the early years of Vietnam Democratic Republic.
Striking characteristics
Hanoi Opera House is renowned for its unique architecture and good composition. It is furnished rationally and harmoniously. Since its establishment, Hanoi Opera House is the largest theatre in Vietnam.
Previously the site was a big pond, adjacent to the city gate of Tay Long (also called Tay Luong) of the ancient Thang Long Capital. The construction met with many difficulties, because the foundations of the theatre were built on the pond. Before building a concrete foundation, nearly one metre thick, the pond was emptied and dredged, then 30,000 hard bamboo stakes were placed on its bed.
Hanoi Opera House is of the same architectural style as the Opera House in France. Some foreign architects said that due to being built nearly 300 years after the Paris Opera House, Hanoi Opera House avoids superfluous architectural details, which make it more magnificent and attractive. Inside the opera house are a large stage and a main audience room with a size of 24x24m, with many small rooms for audience on the central floor. The middle staircase leads to a large Hall on the second floor. The sub-staircase and corridors are located in both sides.
At the back of the Opera House is a management chamber consisting of 18 make-up rooms, 2 rooms for voice training, 1 library and 1 meeting room. Facing the stairs is a magnificent mirror room on the second floor. Opera house has been so far a typical, large-scaled art showing place, wherein party state meetings and international conferences are held. It is considered a cultural work with the best value in Vietnam, a unique architectural work with great historical, cultural, architectural and fine-art value, a unique works in urban area as well as in the capital city. The theatre has been equipped with state-of-art facilities and appliances, compatible for all types of artistic performances, from folk music and songs, ballets and piano to classical opera, reformed opera, Vietnamese operetta and drama, all made great impressions on the audience. Hanoi Opera House has also successfully organized many large-scale international concerts.
Being an ancient architecture work, the Opera House is now becoming a national art work of international renown, which contributes to our country's modern cultural field, also serves as a foundation in cultural exchanging, in our present social economic development and the national cultural innovation in particular.
Hanoi Opera House is a worthy artistic centre, a cultural and architectural relic of the capital Hanoi. This is truly a beautiful building in Hanoi and the best place to see the Opera House is from the 6th floor of the Hanoi Hilton.

Khmer ethnic people enjoy New Year festival

A jubilant atmosphere covers the whole Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang as nearly 400,000 local Khmer ethnic people celebrate their traditional New Year Festival Chol Chnam Thmay.
The Chol Chnam Thmay Festival, which begins after the first harvest of the year, fell on April 13-15.

Xa Loi - First pagoda of Ho Chi Minh City

Xa Loi Pagoda was established to worship the Great Buddha and it is known as the first pagoda of Ho Chi Minh City and also a rather modern pagoda. Tourists in Vietnam travel visiting Xa Loi are interested in its beauty of new architectural style with an altar above and an amphitheatre staying lower.

 Xa Loi Pagoda- The First Pagoda of Ho Chi Minh CityXa Loi Pagoda is a large pagoda and also a relic at the city level of Ho Chi Minh City, lying at the corner of Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Street, District 3 with the huge precinct of 2,500 square kilometers.
The pagoda was started to build on August 5th 1956, following the drawing of the architects Nguyen Van Duong and Do Ba Vinh. And the engineers Du Ngoc Anh and Ho To Thuan were responsible for the construction site. The pagoda building then was finished on May 2nd 1958.

The pagoda was established to worship the Great Buddha and was called with the name "Xa Loi" for short by common people. For that reason, in inaugurating day, the superior Buddhist monk has named it "Xa Loi Pagoda".

This pagoda used to be the main headquarters of the Association of Buddhology of Vietnam from 1951 to 1981. After that, from 1981 to May 1993, it became the headquarters of Buddhist Church of Vietnam (the second office).

Xa Loi Pagoda is the first pagoda of the city which was built in a new style of architecture with an altar above and an amphitheatre staying lower. The design of the pagoda includes a sanctum worshipping Buddha, an amphitheatre, a bell tower, a library, monks' quarters, purifying house, office, a room publishing prayers and bibles, guests' room and an area for travelers staying.

The pagoda worships a huge statue of The Sakyamuni which is made by the School of Fine Arts Bien Hoa. In 1969, the statue was restored with the whole body made of gold and has the shape like today. The sanctum at the upper floor is decorated with a set of big pictures including 15 pictures created by the professor Nguyen Van Long of the School of Fine Arts Gia Dinh. Those pictures have described the life of the Sakyamuni, from newborn time to the time of entering Nirvana.

 Xa Loi Pagoda- The First Pagoda of Ho Chi Minh City
Xa Loi Pagoda- Ho Chi Minh City
The bell tower Xa Loi was opened in 1961. It is 32 metres high and has 7 floors. This is the highest bell tower of Vietnam. Inside the tower, on the highest floor, there hangs a great bell which weighs 2 tones and was casted according to the model of the bell in Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue.
You, tourists in Vietnam travel, should not miss to visit Xa Loi Pagoda when you are in Ho Chi Minh City. The pagoda is opened daily from 7 to 11 am and from 2 to 5 pm.

Nha Trang's Church

One of Nha Trang’s first and oldest buildings constructed primarily of steel reinforced concrete, it’s also sometimes called Stone Church. The foundation was begun on September 3, 1928 on Mot Hill in the center of town, overseen by Paris Foreign Missions Father Louis Valley, and inaugurated on May 14, 1933. Father Valley had also built the cathedral in Danang in 1923.
The 760-square-meter cathedral has a seating capacity of 600, and attracts a large following. The original masses  were read in Latin, French, and English, but today services are held only in Vietnamese. The hill was much higher at the time of construction, and French engineers used 500 explosive charges to make the hilltop level and provide an access road. 

The main entrance is on Thai Nguyen St., but if it’s closed you can follow the southern driveway off Nguyen Trai St., which is the route to take if you’re on wheels. As you go up the road that sweeps the left flank, you’ll wind past about 4,000 cinerary urns with plaques showing the names of prominent local Catholics, many of whom were interred after a nearby cemetery was razed to make way for a new railway building.

Also along the stone drive leading from the foot of the hill to the church are 14 stations of the cross and dozens of statues of saints. The grave of the church’s founder, Father Louis Valley is next to the southern driveway, and that of Bishop Marcel Piquet, the first bishop of Nha Trang, is also on the church grounds next to the steps above the square.
Ever Blue Travel :: Nha Trang Cathedral
Nha Trang Cathedral
The church compound is paved with stone bricks, and encircling the complex are effigies of saints. There’s an interesting grotto dedicated to the Virgin Mary, built in 1940, where you’ll find a wooden statue of Christ surrounded by a motley collection of rectangular tribute plates, potted flowers, and a cascading bougainvillea tree.

Atop the gothic modeled steeple of the church is a grand four-faced clock tower, within which are three giant bells built by the famed Bourdon Carillons Company. The bells ring loudly at every hour and at times of mass, and can be heard throughout the surrounding neighborhoods. Stepping inside the church proper is like walking into a European abbey, complete with magnificent arches and medieval-looking s t a ined-gl a s s windows, all installed in 1933.

Ever Blue Travel :: Calm interior of Nha Trang Cathedral

At the base of the church compound, and at the foot of the busy roundabout is the 2,500 square meter Ave Maria Square. Currently, there’s a massive construction project underway to refurbish the entire area. Previously, there was a large statue of the Virgin Mary atop a pavilion, while the rest of the square went largely ignored. It served as a parking lot during large congregations, and a make-shift cafĂ© serving sugar cane juice in the cool evenings. When construction started there was a rendering of the finished project, showing a medieval-styled battlement looming over a newer statue of Mary, with the main square having flagstones crisscrossed with gardens. 

Time will only tell when the renovations are complete. Outside the perimeter fence you can still see enterprising vendors who have set up plastic lounge chairs along the curb selling fruit and sugar cane juice to the buzz of the traffic circle.

Hon Chong - A beautiful island

Hon Chong is a cluster of huge stones located in Khanh Hoa Province. Hon Chong and Hon Vo has become a island couple. With beautiful scenery, they are attractive many tourist every year.

Hon Chong is a cluster of huge stones located in Khanh Hoa Province. In the language of Vietnamese, there are two meanings of Chong: to stack and husband. Normally, local people refer to Hon Chong in the second meaning.  However, the first meaning seems to be more appropriate in explaining the arrangement of these giant stones.
Hon Chong - the boulders stack on each other
On the slope of a mountain full of rocks stacking on one another, Hon Chong stands vividly and impressively. It overlooks the ocean from the cliff, seeming to fall down in any minute yet remaining stable. Hon Chong’s large boulders are combined to form such an imbalance position that they shock anyone who glances at them for the first time. 
One by one, the boulders stack on each other, supporting and conflicting at the same time. The largest one has the size of a small hill; it makes the foundation to hold another huge boulder which has the size of a house on its peak. On the side facing the seashore, there is a handprint with 5 fingers, which nowadays still confuses and intrigues visitors, historians and scientists alike.
Hon Chong to be with Beautiful scenery
The name of Hon Chong comes from the fact that its shape and location make it look as if it is snuggling against another cluster of stones called Hon Vo (the wife). Hon Vo is a spectacular cluster located not too far away. However, in reality, there are actually two Hon Chong clusters (the other one is near Sat Thon islet), so it might be a little bit confusing to point out which one is actually the husband. You are wondering? Come and find your own answer.