Kon Tum Wooden Church
The Kon Tum Wooden Church, located on Nguyen Hue Street, Kon Tum City, is a unique architecture of wooden materials and good fine-arts.
The church was built from 1913 to 1918, initiated by a French priest, with hundreds of cubic meters of such high-quality wood as rose-wood and ca chit, a valuable wood once growing in abundance across the Central Highlands but rather rare these days. The church's architecture combines Roman and Gothic arches and features of Viet Nam's Central Highlands styles. The whole structure stands one meter above the ground on wooden pillars like many hill tribes' houses and communal houses (Nha Rong). The church's inside was also decorated in the Central Highlands style to make it suitable to the traditional culture of the people in the region.
The church stands on a vast area with various closed-loop works: church, lounge, exhibition centre of ethnic groups and religions, communal house. Besides, there are also an orphanage, a brocade weaving and sewing facility and a carpentry workshop.
The church is not only a place of worship for Catholics but also a cultural and tourist site for visitors to Kon Tum.
Kon Tum Former Prison (Nguc Kon Tum)
Kon Tum Prison is located in the western part of the City of Kon Tum. The prison was built by the French to detain patriotic revolutionaries.
Since 1975, the end of the war, Kon Tum Prison has been a historical vestige of Viet Nam. It has been badly damaged over the years and now only one stele and eight graves of revolutionary combatants remain.
Communal House (Nha Rong)
The Communal House (Nha Rong) can only be found in villages to the north of the Central Highlands. It is a large, imposing, beautifully decorated stilt house built in the middle of the village. It is the meeting place for all the villagers on the occasion of important events such as Tet celebrations, village festivals, wedding ceremonies, or praying ceremonies. It is also the place for reception of guests.
Nha Rong of each ethnic group has its own architectural style, design, and decor. Yet there are shared features. In the village, it is often the biggest house roofed with yellow-dried gianh leaves and having 8 big wood columns. The rafters are decorated with
patterns of bright colours, depicting religious scenes, legendary stories about ancient heroes, stylized animals, and other familiar things of the village life. The most salient feature of the decor of Nha Rong is the image of the brilliant Sun deity.
Nha Rong is a symbol of the culture of Central Highlanders, an age-old and stable culture. The bigger the Nha Rong, the wealthier and the stronger the village. It is a pride of the whole village.
Ba Na Village
There are several Ba Na minority groups living in Kon Tum, or more generally in the Central Highlands, including the Ba Na Kon Tum, Ba Na Go La, and Ba Na Na Ko. Each group resides in a different area. Visitors to a Ba Na village will observe beautiful wooden stilt houses. The staircases leading to the houses are made from tree trunks; each step meticulously chiselled by the skilled Ba Na men.
The Ba Na ethnic group was the first among the minorities of the Central Highlands to write, and to use buffaloes and cows to plough their fields. Nevertheless, their lifestyle has remained primitive. The Ba Na is nationally famous for their hunting skills. Like other ethnic minorities, the Ba Na people keep fires burning in the middle of their houses. Family members and friends sit around the fire to drink, eat, and talk. The fire also keeps the house warm.
Men sometimes have a scar on their chest. It is a result of a wound inflicted on themselves with fire in sign of sorrow when one of their close relatives dies.
Chu Mom Ray National Park
Chu Mom Ray National Park, located at the T-junction of Indochina, adjacent to two nature reserves of Laos and Cambodia, has an area of 56,621ha, belonging to Sa Thay and Ngoc Hoi Districts, about 30km to the northwest of Kon Tum City.
This park is one of places that have the most ancient flora in Viet Nam. According to surveys, there are about 508 species of trees, belonging to 324 genera, 115 families. In terms of fauna, there are many species of mammal such as elephants, bulls, and birds including 352 ones of vertebrata on land. There exists a number of extremely valuable and rare animals such as: forest buffalo, Banteng bull, gayal, and even grey cow, etc.
Chu Mom Ray National Park boasts imposing and wild special natural landscapes. Diversified natural resources of flora, fauna definitely bring a lot of funs and enjoyment to tourists and scientific researchers. In addition, coming here tourists will have chance to visit villages where are home to ethnic groups such as Ro Mam, Gia Rai, Brau.
Mang Den Ecotourist Zone
The Mang Den Ecotourist Zone lies in Kon Plong District, about 50km northeast of Kon Tum City, at about 1,200m above the sea level. Year-round, it has average temperature of 18-20oC. Thanks to these features, the Mang Den Ecotourist Zone has earned the fame as “the second Da Lat tourist city” in the Central Highlands.
The name Mang Den is transcribed from the word ‘T’mang Deeng’ of the Mo Nam ethnic people (“T’mang” means a flat land and “Deeng” means a residential area). The land is blessed with scenic landscapes and mild weather year round. It nestles amidst primitive forests and a large area grown with age-old pine trees, spotted by natural lakes, waterfalls and springs.
Living in the area are mainly the Mo-nam and Ca-dong ethnic people who have well preserved their authentic lifestyle, distinctive culture and customs, and traditional crafts as they were. These ethnic minorities have often settled down nearby lakes, waterfalls or rivers, building their stilted houses and “nha rong” (the communal house in the Highlands) next to slash-and-burn rice and food crops.
Bo Ma Festival
This funeral ceremony of the Gia Rai, Ba Na and E De minorities is organised at the cemetery a few years after a death and lasts from two to five days. This ceremony is the last step in accompanying the dead to the other world and is considered to be the most important step in the burial process. After this ceremony, the ties between the living and the dead come to an end. These festivities express the highly collective spirit of these ethnic groups.
Village Land Praying Ceremony
End of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd lunar month
This is a festival of the Ba Na people who live in Kon Tum and Gia Lai. Ba Na villagers hold the Village Land Praying Ceremony in
preparation for the new crop or before moving to new land. Before the days of establishing the new village, Ba Na people held a two-day ceremony. They prayed to their deities in hope that they would be given favourable working conditions and to inform the deities about the work in the upcoming year.