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Champa Well

Friday - 16/10/2020 12:53
Like many other small islands, Ly Son Island is not abundant in fresh water. From the past to the present, the islanders have primarily relied on rainwater, and also dug wells for daily use and agricultural production. There are around 1,000 wells on the island. However, more than half of them are contaminated with salt water and only used for agriculture. Of the wells that do have some fresh water, most are dry or contaminated with salt water in the dry season—except for one named Xo La, an ancient well built by the Champa people. Xo La Well sometimes supplies fresh water to over half of the island population.

Xo La is located in East Hamlet, An Vinh, next to Ben Dinh Port and only 5-7 meters from the coast. The well is 1.8 meters in diameter and 10 meters deep. The upper well wall is made from laterite. Beginning 3.5 meters down, volcanic rocks line the well. Carefully selected in size and shape, the rocks are elaborately and beautifully arranged, with even spaces between the rocks so that water can flow out easily.

Although Xo La is close to the coast, it never becomes saline, even when the sea is rough. Studies also show that groundwater is concentrated mainly in the southern part of the island, where Xo La is located.

No one knows the origin or meaning of the word Xo La, but with its distinctive stone arrangements, many researchers believe that it was dug by Champa inhabitants living on the island before the 15th century. Champa people often lived near the sea and were good at finding groundwater sources. They dug wells to get fresh water  for their own use, and also to sell it to merchant boats. Modern Vietnamese still use these wells to this day.

Quang Ngai Province granted Xo La Well a provincial monument in 2017.
 
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