Khai Dinh Tomb
Architecture

A Spiritual Journey Through 7 Impressive Royal Tombs in Hue, Vietnam

Hue’s mausoleums are renowned among history lovers for their poetic and charming scenery with delicate architectural works in harmony with nature.

1. The grand Gia Long Tomb

Gia Long Royal Tomb

The first King of Nguyen Dynasty rested in a quiet and poetic space (Source: Google)

Gia Long Tomb (also known as “Thien Tho” tomb) was built from 1814 to 1820 and located in Huong Tho Commune, Huong Tra District, Thua Thien Hue Province. This is the resting place of King Gia Long (1762 – 1820), the first of the 13 kings of Nguyen Dynasty.

Gia Long Tomb covers a huge area of more than 11,000 square meters, in front of Mount Dai Thien Tho and surrounded by other 14 mountains. The central area lies the tomb of King Gia Long and his wife, Queen Thua Thien Cao.

Because of the beautiful location near the famous Huong River, the tomb and its surroundings is awarded with a cool and fresh atmosphere. There is no exaggeration to claim that Gia Long Tomb is one of the greatest masterpieces of the harmony between nature and architecture in the history of Hue Vietnam.

2. The solemn Minh Mang Tomb

Minh Mang royal tomb

Majestic architecture and nature representing a romantic soul (Source: Google)

Situated 12km from the center of Hue city and located on the mountain of Cam Khe, Minh Mang Tomb is the permanent resting place of the second king of Nguyen Dynasty.

Built in 1840 and finished three years later, Minh Mang Tomb has an area of 26 hectares and is widely regarded as a large architectural complex of 40 works in a hilly area with rivers and lakes surrounded. In front of the tomb, there are three doors in total, one of which only opened once when the procession of King Minh Mang entered the tomb along with his body. The other two doors are known under the names of Ta Hong Gate and Huu Hong Gate.

Inside Dai Hong Gate has a courtyard with two sides lined up with two rows of stone carved mandarins and animals like elephants and horses, all of which were in the position of attending the king’s audience.

3. The elegant Thieu Tri Tomb

thieu tri royal tomb

Simple architecture with rice fields and fruit gardens surrounded (Source: Google)

Thieu Tri Tomb, which is about 8km from Hue city, lies on the back of Thuan Dao Mountain, Cu Chanh Village, Thuy Bang Commune, Huong Thuy District. The tomb is famous for the shortest time of construction in the history of Hue Vietnam (completed in 10 months)

After the death of King Thieu Tri, his successor son, Tu Duc was responsible for choosing the land for construction. The architecture of Thieu Tri Tomb is a combination and selection from the architectural patterns and designs of King Gia Long and Minh Mang’s tombs, uniting as one with a peaceful countryside setting with rice fields and orchards.

4. The poetic Tu Duc Tomb

Tu Duc royal tomb

One of the most beautiful architectures of the Nguyen Dynasty (Source: Google)

Located in a narrow valley in Thuong Ba village, Thuy Xuan commune, Hue city, Tu Duc tomb (or Khiem Lang) was built from 1864 to 1867 on an area of 475 hectares. Nearly 50 structures in the two areas – temple and tomb – carry the word “Khiem” in their names. Moreover, the tomb succeeded in expressing both the broad-minded and soft elements in the romantic soul of King Tu Duc – the King of poet in the history of Hue Vietnam.

Apart from being the burial place of the King, the tomb was also used as a favorite place of resting, relaxing, reading and reciting poetry by King Tu Duc. Therefore, the tomb’s landscape is designed like a large park with a dreamlike lake and endless stretch of lively pine trees. Especially, on the left side of Luong Khiem Temple, there existed a Minh Khiem Theater, one of the Vietnam’s oldest theaters, where the King often paid a visit to admire the music.

5. The bucolic Duc Duc Tomb

Duc Duc royal tomb

The resting place of the three Kings of Nguyen Dynasty (Source: Google)

Duc Duc Tomb is located in An Cuu Ward, Hue City. The tomb was completed in 1889 and is the resting home of three kings Duc Duc, Thanh Thai and Duy Tan

Compared to other tombs of the Nguyen kings, Duc Duc Tomb stands out as a simple and modest architecture. The tomb has a rectangular shape with an area of 3,445 meters and has no stone statues like other tombs. Duc Duc tomb faces Phuoc Qua Hill in the front and Tam Thai Mountain at the back.

6. The harmonious Dong Khanh Tomb

Dong Khanh Royal Tomb

The perfect harmony between nature and architecture (Source: Google)

Dong Khanh Tomb is the place where King Dong Khanh was buried in Thuong Hai Village, Thuy Xuan Commune, Hue City. The tomb puts itself into the middle of Thieu Tri Tomb and Tu Duc Tomb. The mausoleum was built through four kings, lasting from 1888 to 1923, with the traditional feudal architecture and influenced by Western architecture.

Ngung Hy Temple is regarded as the most reserved place of Vietnamese lacquer art harmoniously with the system of multi-colored glass. The tomb’s architecture is completely influenced by Western culture, from architectural features, decorative motifs to construction materials but still in harmony with the rural landscape in the region.

7. The delicate Khai Dinh Tomb

Khai Dinh Royal Tomb

Valuable architectural and artistic work of the East and the West (Source: Google)

Being the resting place of King Khai Dinh, the 12th emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, Khai Dinh Tomb (or Ung Tomb) located on Chau Chu Mountain, Thuy Bang Commune, Huong Thuy District, about 10km west of Hue City. Khai Dinh Tomb is considered the only architecture that possesses the mixed aesthetic value of both the West and East.

Despite the modest size, Khai Dinh Tomb has gained its reputation by the delicacy and complexity in construction. Hence, the tomb was built in 10 years, from 1920 to 1930 and costed quite a fortune compared to other tombs.

The most outstanding feature of Khai Dinh Tomb is the three delicate and gorgeous frescos “Cửu Long ẩn vân” (9 Dragons hiding in the clouds),  – the most magnificent and valuable treasure in the history of Hue Vietnam, which were decorated in the ceiling of the three pavilions in Thien Dinh Palace

If you are interested in the fascinating history of Hue Vietnam, this ultimate guide to Hue Citadel’s most unique and spectacular 7 tombs is certain to guide you on your mysterious journey to the past.

Tuong Vi

 

 

 

 

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