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My Son - a World Heritage Site


My Son (Mỹ Sơn) lies in a narrow valley in Duy Tan Commune, Duy Xuyen District, Quang Nam Province. 70km southwest of Danang City, 20km away from the Tra Kieu Citadel, and 40km away from the ancient town of Hoi An. My Son Sanctuary is a group of temple-towers of Cham people. With its great value, in December 1999, the complex of My Son Cham Towers has been recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

 

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Various researches by archaeologists and architects have revealed that at the beginning, there was only one small wooden temple built by King Bhadresvara I in late 4th century. In the 7th century, King Sambhuvarman had it rebuilt, using more durable materials From then on, successive Cham kings, when enthroned, had their temple-towers constructed as offerings to their gods.

During seven centuries (7th to 14th century), such temple-towers mushroomed in My Son, turning this land into a cultural, and religious center of the Cham Kingdom.My Son was a complex of constructions, including different temple-towers and stela in various architectural styles. French researchers listed some 70 temple-towers there. However, time and war together have taken their toll on these relics. Now, only 20 temple-towers remain almost intact. 

 

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The rest have been reduced to ruins. These vestiges are valuable treasures of information for studying the development of Cham culture. During its seven centuries of development, Cham arts produced many works equal to masterpieces of the world. Though less impossing than the Angkor in Cambodia and less diversified than the Pagan site in Myanma, My Son is unique of its kind in Southeast Asia.

From the 4th to the 14th century AD, the valley at My Son was a site of religious ceremony for kings of the ruling dynasties of Champa, as well as a burial place for Cham royalty and national heroes. It was closely associated with the nearby Cham cities of Indrapura (Đồng Dương) and Simhapura (Trà Kiệu). At one time, the site encompassed over 70 temples as well as numerous stele bearing historically important inscriptions in Sanskrit and Cham.
My Son is perhaps the longest inhabited archaeological site in Indochina, but a large majority of its architecture was destroyed by US carpet bombing during a single week of the Vietnam War. 
The My Son temple complex is regarded one of the foremost Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia and is the foremost heritage site of this nature in Vietnam.