The ancient Champa dynasties built many elaborate temples and shrines. A typical Cham tower is built in the Hindu Ba La Mon architectural style that represents the symbolic legendary Meru Mountain where Hindu genies and spirits dwell. The architecture is influenced by Hindu art and is imbued with the cultural features of the Cham people.
Historical researchers say that the Cham towers in Binh Dinh are the biggest in Southeast Asia. They are located mainly in Quy Nhon city and Tuy Phuoc, An Nhon and Tay Son districts in the area of the Do Ban Citadel, which was part of the ancient kingdom of Champa.
With seven Cham towers listed as Vietnam National Heritage, Binh Dinh is an attractive destination for visitors who are interested in discovering the mysterious Cham culture.
Binh Lam Tower
Remotely located at Tuy Phuoc district, Binh Lam Tower is one of the first Cham towers in Binh Dinh province. It was built between the end of the 10th and the beginning of the 11th century. The tower is 20m high with three levels and famous for its ornaments representing the architecture style of Cham culture.
Built entirely with Cham bricks, the tower has its main gate facing the west. One of the most noticeable features of Binh Lam is its false doors with their arches rising in the shape of a spear. Combined with other details, including the lacking of ornaments on the walls and new decoration patterns, Cham experts often regard Binh Lam as a signal to the flourish of Binh-dinh style, a new style of Cham art which transferred from the graceful and delicate to the spectacular and powerful architecture style. Binh Lam tower was listed as National Heritage in 1993.
Banh It Tower (Silver Tower)
Built between the end of 11th and the beginning of the 12th century, Banh It tower is actually a group of four towers located on a hill of Tuy Phuoc district, Binh Dinh.
Banh It means a kind of local rice cake with the shape of an upturned corner hat which is similar to how the locals see the tower from afar. The French, however, called it as Silver Tower. Each tower of the group has its own feature and style. The main tower looks grand; the southern saddle-shaped one has a sense of romance; the southeastern tower with decorative ground-shape items on different layers bares excitements and extroversion; and the gate-tower has a sense of dignity and meditation. Banh It Tower was listed as National Heritage in 1982.
Phu Loc Tower (Golden tower)
Phu Loc tower is located on the top of a small hill at the city of Quy Nhon. Visitors to the tower can also enjoy a magnificent view of the immense grass fields of An Nhon and Phu Cat districts. Phu Loc is another tower that best represents the Binh Dinh architectural style of Cham towers. The tower is listed as National Heritage in 1995.
Doi Tower (Twin Tower or Hung Thanh Tower)
Doi tower’s architecture style is said to reminiscent of Angkor Vat due to Khmer influence. This might be the result of two Khmer occupations in Champa – the first in the middle of the 12th, and the second at the beginning of the 13th century.
Situated in Quy Nhon City, the twin towers of Thap Doi have curved pyramidal roofs rather than the terracing typical of Cham architecture. The larger tower has one main door and three false doors, facing the cardinal directions. The dismembered torsos of garuda (griffin-like sky beings that feed on naga, or divine serpents) can be seen at the corners of roofs of both towers. In 1980, Thap Doi was listed as a National Heritage.
Canh Tien Tower
Canh Tien tower is located inside the ruined Do Ban citadel at An Nhon district, Binh Dinh. Built in the 12th century, it is one of the towers of typical Binh Dinh architectural style. One of the different features of Canh Tien is that its pilasters and edges of the roofs are built of sandstone. The tower is 20 meters high with four storeies. At the four corners of each storey are stone motifs of phoenix tail. In the distance, the tower looks like the great and beautiful wings of a fairy. Canh Tien is listed as National Heritage in 1982.
Duong Long tower (Ivory Tower)
Situated about 50 km north-west of Quy Nhon city, Duong Long tower is a group of three towers dating back from the late 12th century. The center tower is 42m high and the side tower is 38m high each. The ground plan of the towers, the rounded silhouette of their superstructure and their elaborated ornaments are said to be heavily influenced by the Khmer style of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thorn in Cambodia.
Duong Long tower is often regarded as one the most beautiful Cham towers in the central Vietnam. It was listed as National Heritage in 1980.
Thu Thien Tower
Like other Cham towers, Thu Thiem has a square-plan including its base and three stories. The outer walls and the three stories are decorated with small pyramids. Thu Thiem’s pilasters are sleek, plain and do not have any patterns. Situated 35km of north-west Quy Nhon city, the tower is listed as National heritage in 1995.