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Hoi An, a place of famous world heritage, features a lot of ancient architectures dating from centuries ago. Besides that, Hoi An also has a valuable collection of cultural objects and places which reflect the liking of the local community. For example, the Ba Le well is one of the few old wells in Vietnam – as old as a thousand years – and still attracts the attention of the local people, who have loved, protected, respected and even worshiped it over the years.
From the pas to now, Ba Le well is not only a source of life for families delivering water but also hundreds of other households, from street vendors to the luxury restaurants. The Hoi An specialties such as Cao Lau noodle ads, factories that ... are not tasty, characterized correct if other well water used for processing.
According to many elderly people in Hoi An, the well was built in the 10th century by the Cham people. Ancient people just used brick without mortar to build the well. At the foot of the well, there is a broad iron wood frame which has existed for thousand years. It is not similar to wells as anywhere in Vietnam, this well has be long seen as a tangible cultural value reflecting the daily life of Cham communities from over 10 centuries before. Through several sources, the ancient Champa people dug the well, in addition to serving the daily needs; they also use fresh water to exchange commodities with abroad boats and merchant ships coming to port of Hoi An.
Water from the well is famed for its use in the town’s famed Cao Lau noodle. An entire mythology has blossomed around the well, including stories of mystical connections to fairies and a belief that the water is the coolest and sweetest in Hoi An.
Ba Le Well is located down the alley behind 45 Phan Chau Trinh Street, just up from the must-visit Ba Le Well restaurant. The easiest route is to take the first right after the traffic lights at the top of Le Loi and Tran Hung Dao Streets and follow the alley until you get to a Nguyen Coffee sign (that doesn’t really narrow it down much, so I’ve included a photo below). Take the first left hand alley and on your right, that big square concrete thing? Take a look down it — that’s the Ba Le Well.
Ba Le Well is looked after by the rather well suited ancient, and maybe a little away-with-the-fairies himself, Mr Ba Lo Le, who recently put all his money into restoring the well. Every day Mr Ba Lo Le takes the water from the well and delivers it to poor families nearby, who use the sacred water for cooking xi ma, a traditional medicinal watercress soup, which without the Ba Le Well water is said to be tasteless, and for making tea — but never for washing. These poor families have their own wells, but the water from them is undrinkable.
Ba Le Well may not be one of Hoi An’s must-see attractions, although it is one of the most famous. Time your visit right to bump into Mr Ba Lo Le — at around 15:00 or at dawn — and you will get to meet one of the real faces of Hoi An.
The Ba Le well which is an indispensable part of the intangible heritage contribute to the unique ancient culture of Hoi An.
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