Cau Pagoda – the pagoda with great cultural significance, was honored to appear on the polymer money 20.000 VND. It is also a symbol of Hoi An in particular but also in Vietnam in general as well.
Why do I say that Cau Pagoda is a symbol of this ancient town?
For the people here, the Cau is more prominent when being compared to many landscapes and relics fascinated people. Hoi An Ancient Town, nestled on the romantic Hoai River, is one of the famous tourist destinations not only for domestic tourists. Hoi An has many monuments, landscapes to please people. For a long time, the beauty of here has gone into poetry, music. For the people of Hoi An, the bridge is a soul, a symbol that has existed for more than four centuries. Coming to Hoi An without visiting the Cau pagoda, you are definitely wasting your airfare.
Cau Pagoda – beautiful from the story of history
Cau Pagoda, as the name suggests, is a pagoda located on a bridge across a creek in the Hoi An ancient town. Built in the early 17th century by Japanese merchants, this is the only one structure that has originated from the Japanese in Vietnamese history. The Japanese Bridge is another name of the Cau pagoda.
But why did the Japanese build this bridge there? Legend has it that this temple is associated with the monster legend Namazu (also known as Cu) – a legendary monster in Japan. This beast is located in India, the body in Vietnam, the tail is in Japan. So every time it moves, catastrophes like floods, earthquakes, etc. will happen.
Thus, the temple was built with the meaning as a sword blocking Namazu’s back, preventing it from reviving, helping the people’s lives of all three countries are more peaceful.
It was not until 1653 that a new temple was erected. This area connects to the northern railings, protruding between the bridge. The name Cau pagoda was born since then.
The beauty of Cau Pagoda architecture
Built by the Japanese, but the Cau pagoda has a bold architectural special of Vietnam.
The first special thing is in the structure of the bridge. Cau Pagoda is about 18m long and is a brick bridge which means the bridge was roofed with yin and yang tile above, a feature of Vietnamese architecture.
The bridge covered outhouse is quite unique, in the middle is the way is curved, the two sides have the narrow corridor to make a resting place with seven wooden compartments. All of the pagodas and bridge are made of wood, lacquered and carved with many fine details in Vietnamese architecture, typically dragon. At the same time, the artist decorated the structure with a little bit of Japanese style.
From a long distance, the bridge has a smooth bend, crossing Hoai River (a branch of the Thu Bon River). At each bridgehead of the bridge, there is a wooden statue standing, one is a dog statue, one is a monkey. There are many hypotheses that these are Japanese mascots from ancient times, but can also mean the bridge was built from the year of The monkey, which lasted until the year of the Dog. This is not yet conclusive.
In 1719, Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu, when visiting Hoi An, he saw the special Cau Pagoda. The Lord named the bridge Lai Vien, meaning “a friend from far away came”. Nowadays, we can still see three kanji letter Lai Vien Kieu carved on a large signboard in front of the pagoda.
The special feature of this pagoda is that the pagoda is not worshiping the Buddha, which is worshiping the northern god Tran Vo Bac De, the god of protection of the country, giving joy and happiness to people, expressing the spiritual aspirations that people want to send to Heaven and earth to look forward to every good thing.
A historical meaningful pagoda
In 1990, Cau Pagoda was recognized as National Historical-Cultural Relic. Not only have the spiritual meaning, the pagoda also plays an important role in transport.
So far, the temple seems to have become an invaluable asset, formally chosen as the symbol of Hoi An.