Defunct palace and Vietnamese writing school to be rebuilt

January, 23/2020 - 13:18
The central province has commenced construction on a memorial park in honour of the Thanh Chiêm Palace – the first school of Vietnamese romanized script – in Điện Bàn town.


A design of the memorial park to honour Thanh Chiêm Palace and Vietnamese romanized script system. The project will be built in Điện Bàn Town in Quảng Nam Province. Photo courtesy Điện Bàn Town

QUẢNG NAM  — The central province has commenced construction on a memorial park in honour of the Thanh Chiêm Palace – the first school of Vietnamese romanised script – in Điện Bàn Town.

Vice chairman of the town’s people’s committee, Nguyễn Xuân Hà told Việt Nam News the project will cover 1.85ha with investment of VNĐ100 billion (US$4.4 million).

He said the park, located in Thanh Chiêm village in Điện Phương commune, will include the old Thanh Chiêm Palace (1602-1883) – which was a capital of the southern expansion under the Nguyễn Dynasty in the 17-18th century.

The reconstruction of the defunct Thanh Chiêm Palace, which was recognised as a National Relic in 2017, will be designed as a destination in the world heritage journey between Hội An and Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary.


An old.painting shows an overal of the former Thanh Chiêm Citadel ánd the Thu Bồn River. The area was recognised as the national.relic. VNS Photo Công Thành

“It will serve as a destination and a research centre on the Vietnamese romanized script – the modern writing system of the Vietnamese language – and a cultural exchange among international language researchers,” Hà said.

“The park will be a place to honour the modern Vietnamese writing system and the priest Francisco de Pina (1585-1625) (the founder of the Vietnamese romanised script), and two students Alexandre De Rhodes and Portuguese Antonio Fonte as well as Vietnamese assistants,” he said.

Thanh Chiêm Palace is believed to have been built in 1602 by Lord Nguyễn Hoàng in Cần Húc Village and then moved to Thanh Chiêm village (now in Điện Bàn Town).

A stone stela notes the location of the former Thanh Chiêm Citadel in Điện Phương commune of Quảng Nam Province. VNS Photo Công Thành

Following research by Vietnamese historians in 2016, Francisco de Pina was found to have invented the new method of transcribing the Vietnamese language with a Latin alphabet at Thanh Chiêm Palace (1618-21) before Alexandre De Rhodes (1591-1660), a French Jesuit missionary and lexicographer, continued uncompleted research on Francisco de Pina during a move to the north of Việt Nam (1635-1645).

The palace played a role as an administrative, cultural and military centre in the south of the country in the 1600s.

Japanese Professor Kikuchi Seiichi from Showa Women’s University conducted three archaeological field studies in 1999, 2000 and 2001 using ultrasound to find the position of the large palace.

Meanwhile, the late historian and professor Trần Quốc Vượng identified the location of Thanh Chiêm Palace and had mapped it out during an archaeological study.

Artefacts, ceramic jars and fragments found in the 1990s also proved the existence of the old palace.

A church in Điện Phương Commune in Điện Bàn Town still preserves three ancient tombs. — VNS