Hoi An old town with beautiful natural scenery, beaches, islands, and the traditional special dishes … always an attractive destination for tourists in Vietnam travel. Among them, when traveling to Hoi An, tourists should not miss Cau Pagoda. This is the only remaining ancient bridge in Hoi An, known as Lai Vien Kieu (the bridge to pick up tourists from afar). The bridge is also known as Cau Pagoda, a familiar relic becoming the symbol of Hoi An city.
In Vietnam travel guide, tourists can hear the legend associated with the formation of the pagoda. Legend has it that the Vietnamese Japanese and Chinese communities have a common legend about the cause of earthquakes. They said that there was a monster in the ocean that the Vietnamese called Con Cu, Japanese called Mamazu, and Chinese called Cau Long. Its head was in Japan; its tail was in India and its back span through Hoi An.
Every time the monster lashed its tail, Japan occurred the earthquake and Hoi An was also not peace. Therefore Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese are not peace to do business. To control the monter, Japanese worshiped Monkey and Dog Gods on two bridgeheads. Minh Huong people established a small pagoda adjacent to the ancient bridge for the purpose of controlling the monster. So the pagoda was regarded as a sword crashing back down the back of Mamazu monster. It cannot lash the tail to cause earthquakes anymore. In 1653, people built more a part of the pagoda connecting the rail on the north. From there, local people called Cau pagoda. In 1719, the Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu visited Hoi An and named the bridge as Lai Vien.
The bridge is with a length of 18m, lies on the creek flowing over the Thu Bon River. Cau pagoda is one of the relics having the quite distinctive architecture. The roof tile covers the whole bridge. On the main gate is a large plaque embossed 3 Chinese words Lai Van Kieu. The pagoda and bridge are made from wood. They are meticulously painted and carved. Two bridgeheads have wooden statues, a side is dog statue, and another side is monkey statue. According to the legend there are animals that Japanese worships from antiquity.
Though it is called the pagoda, the inside is no Buddha statue. The main hall (called the pagoda) worships a wooden statue Bac De Tran Vo a God who protects the country, grants happiness, pleasure, and expresses spiritual aspirations of people. The unique architectural complex with the T scrip is associated with legends relating to lucky and unlucky of people so people is familiar to call Cau pagoda. This is a symbol of cultural exchange among Japan – China – Vietnam in Hoi An city. Over 400 years, famous Cau pagoda is still attractive place for tourists on Vietnam trip to worship respectfully.
Previously, Japanese style in the architectural structure and interior contained the imprint of Phu Tang culture with soft tile roofs sloping down , square columns , designs with the sun… However, through restorations, Cau Pagoda has lost Japanese architectures, instead of Vietnamese and Chinese architectural styles. Cau Pagoda is invaluable asset and has been chosen as the official symbol of Hoi An Vietnam