The house of Swiss-French doctor and bacteriologist Alexandre Emile Jean Yersin on Hon Ba peak in the south-central coastal province of Khanh Hoa has been designated a national cultural relic site by Vietnam's Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
His house was built around 1914 on Hon Ba peak.
According to the doctor's paper published in a journal of the Indochina Research Association about 109 years ago, he observed and searched for a path to climb the peak at an altitude of about 1,500 meters.
From Yersin’s article
One of Yersin's associates, named Krempf, did well on the exploration mission at the time.
"Thanks to his skills as an excellent climber, he [Krempf] succeeded in circling the northern flank of the mountain. He is the first climber to set foot on the summit of the 1,500-meter mountain. This peak is called Hon Ba," Yersin wrote in the paper.
The Swiss doctor's article also said at that time, the French Academy of Sciences awarded him a monetary prize he used to hire some people from the Thuong ethnic group to create a viable path connecting Suoi Giao to Hon Ba, crossing Suoi Ca, which eventually made it possible to set up a research laboratory.
The research laboratory, located at an altitude of 1,578 meters, was a wooden house with two floors and a solid water tank.
Dr. Yersin used it as a shelter to live and do research when he climbed Hon Ba peak for his work.
However, the house was later abandoned and only its foundation remained.
The story after 33 years
In 2005, the Yasaka - Sai Gon - Nha Trang Joint Stock Company received permission from the Khanh Hoa Provincial People's Committee to reconstruct the wooden house on the same foundation.
The reconstructed house was modeled after the design of the original.
Currently, the house is located in Hon Ba Nature Reserve, owned by the Hon Ba Nature Reserve Administration under the umbrella of the Khanh Hoa Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
On September 28, 1990, the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism adopted Decision No. 993/QD recognizing the venerable historical complex in honor of scholar and doctor Alexandre Yersin in Khanh Hoa as a national heritage site.
The complex includes a library at the Pasteur Institute in Nha Trang; the tomb at Suoi Dau Plantation, where Yersin was buried at his request; and Linh Son Pagoda in Suoi Cat Commune, located near his burial site.
In February 2023, the Khanh Hoa People's Committee submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism to include Dr. Yersin's house on Hon Ba in the list of national relics.
Born in Switzerland, Yersin (September 22, 1863 - March 1, 1943) studied medicine at prestigious institutes in his hometown, Germany, and France.
He came to Vietnam in 1891 and spent nearly 50 years of his life working in Khanh Hoa.
According to the Vietnam News Agency, the scientist is best known as the co-discoverer of the bacillus responsible for the bubonic plague in 1894.
He discovered the Liang Biang Plateau, the site of the city of Da Lat now, in 1893 and founded the Pasteur Institute in Nha Trang in 1895.
Yersin was also the one who introduced the rubber tree and Cinchona ledgeriana, a medicinal tree, to Vietnam.
He was the founder of Indochina Medicine School, which later became Hanoi Medical University and the Hanoi University of Pharmacy.