|My Son and the Cham|
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The Kingdom of Champa existed from about the 2nd Century until the 15th Century. Prior to the 15th Century, the Cham lived in what is now central and southern Vietnam. After a decisive battle in 1472, their former territory became Vietnam much as we now know it. There are still many Cham in Vietnam. In fact, there are villages mostly of Cham people, who belong to one of Vietnam's several ethnic minorities. For a fuller discussion of the Cham, see Vietnam in the Absence of War.
Throughout central Vietnam, there are "Cham towers" which are religious structures. We'll see two very good ones near Phan Rang, and at Nha Trang. On my winter, 2004, trip, we visited My Son. This was the capital of the kingdom, and is often referred to at the My Son Holy Land. The buildings here appear to have been highly religious in nature.
Most buildings are in good condition--except the ones destroyed by the U.S. Air Force in 1969. Nixon, to his rare credit, stopped the bombing here at the request of the president of what was then South Vietnam. Restoration is an on-going process.
The shell of one bombed-out Cham structure has been given a new roof and walls as needed. It is now a visitor center/small museum in the midst of other buildings at My Son.
We'll also visit the Cham Museum in Da Nang. This is a treasure house of Cham relics.