“Nhan Mountain boasts interesting architecture, pleasing surroundings and is a historically significant spot for the Cham people. This trifecta of interest makes it a must visit for anyone who has the chance – foreign and domestic tourists alike.”
Nhan Mountain (Núi Nhạn) is found rising high near the city center of Tuy Hoa, the capital city of the Phu Yen province in Vietnam. Nhan Mountain boasts interesting architecture, pleasing surroundings and is a historically significant spot for the Cham people. This trifecta of interest makes it a must visit for anyone who has the chance – foreign and domestic tourists alike.
For those very reasons, Nhan Mountain is the first thing locals think about when Tuy Hoa is mentioned. It’s become a famous landmark for Tuy Hoa and the entire Phu Yen province.
Even so, Nhan Mountain isn’t often visited by foreign tourists, simply because very few know about Tuy Hoa (or even Phu yen) at all. In other words: it’s a hidden gem.
Architecture and Religion of Nhan Mountain
So far, the Cham people technique of placing bricks tight together without any kind of mortar or adhesive has remained a secret to researchers.
Standing majestically on top of Nhan Mountain, Nhan Tower is an amazing piece of architecture. Nhan tower was built by the Cham people, who lived in the Đà Rằng delta region, between late 11th century and early in 12th century period. It’s the most unique symbol of the long-standing culture of the Cham people.
When the French colonists invaded Vietnam (1945-1954), they destroyed parts of Nhan tower causing a lot of damage. However, Phu Yen authorities fully repaired and restored both the inside and the outside of the tower in 1960.
The tower itself is a quadrant with four stories’. The tower is 25 meters high and each side of the tower is 10 meters high. The four-story tower illustrates the beauty, art and creativeness of the Cham people and resembles the architecture found in other places such as the Po Nagar Cham towers in Nha Trang.
The roof is made of a lotus bud stone slab which is a Linga symbol of the Cham people. In the top of the tower, four sides have false windows to distinguish between the upper and lower tower.
Inside the tower, the wall was built perpendicular from the bottom to the end of the body. The closer to the top, the smaller it is resulting in a pyramidal roof without the use of terracing or pilasters.
Another sculpture of Durga the goddess, may be found inside the temple: it depicts the four-armed goddess holding a hatchet, a lotus and a club while standing on a buffalo. This sculpture belongs to the Tra Kieu style of Cham art from the end of the 10th century to the beginning of the 11th century.
Nhan Tower is not only a historical and cultural relic but also represents typical architectural and sculptural work of the Cham people. The tower was built using bricks and decorated with stones and ceramics. So far, the Cham people technique of placing bricks tight together without any kind of mortar or adhesive has remained a secret to researchers.
The tower, shrouded by old trees, is regarded by the locals as having ancient supernatural powers holding the spirits and ghosts of long forgotten times. This is holy ground and many come here to pay homage to the Gods.
Further attractive features of Nhan Mountain
When visiting Nhan Mountain you will a get a sincere feeling of comfort and peace unlike most other places. It will not only help you understand history and religion but also provide insight into the spiritual life and social structure of the Cham people.
Even without the tower, the view from the top of the mountain makes this place worth a visit. From here you can see all over Tuy Hoa city and enjoy the calming view of this tranquil city as well as Chop Chai Mountain
A common joke is that you would rather live outside something beautiful (a palace for example) instead of inside it because then you get to look at the beauty all day while if you’re inside you only get to look at the ugly outside.
Luckily, you won’t have to worry about that with Nhan Tower as it is just as beautiful up close as far away. At night, Nhan tower is a shimmering beacon of light due to an advanced light system. Even far away, several kilometers, you can clearly see Nhan mountain shine bright in the night.
Especially, when Nhan mountain is used to celebrate cultural and recreational activities. And it often is.
To give a few examples:
A cultural performance show is celebrated from 6-8pm every Saturday
Nguyen Tieu poetic festival takes place annually on the first full moon day of the lunar new year (Tet). This poetic night is the annual meeting event for poets and supporters gathering under the full moonlight, chanting the lyrical rhymes or discussing the art of poetry. You can experience these magnetic cultural activities and have a chance to harmonize with the rich Vietnamese culture.
Finally, there is yet an amazing piece of architecture located on the way to the top of the mountain that shouldn’t be missed when traveling to Phu Yen. The monument is called The Heroic Martyrs Monument, is 30 meters high and stands out white under the blue sky. With its elaborate and majestic dimensions, this creative, artsy design, looks like a giant sail and should by all means not be missed.