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Saturday, 04.21.2018, 01:26am (GMT+7)  
     What to see in Hue

What to See in Hue

 

Imperial Citadel

Hue Citadel is situated on the Northern bank of the Perfume River. With an area of 500 ha and a system of three circles of ramparts, namely from outside to inside: Kinh Thanh (Capital Citadel), Hoang Thanh (Royal Citadel) and Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Citadel). 

Hue has chosen to be the capital city of the Southern Kingdom by all Nguyen Lords and officially became the capital under Tay Son'reign. For approximately 400 years, Hue has become a great landscape and architectural site. Hue' royal complex has been officially recognized by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The Ngu Binh Mountain in the South is used as a front screening elevation. The Con Hen and Con Da Vien (both are sand dunes) on the Perfume River are chosen as geomancy condition "dragon on the left, tiger on the right" to protect the capital city.

 

Kinh Thanh Hue (Hue Capital Citadel):

This construction stared in 1805 under the reign of Emperor Gia Long and completed in 1832 under the reign of Emperor Ming Mang. Under Nguyen' reign, Kings have ordered to build ramparts, palaces and constructional works of royal. Over 200 years to now, it is still original with nearly 140 small and large constructions.

The Citadel, square in shape and almost 10 km in circumference, 6 m high, 21 m thick and 10 entrances. On the top of the walls that surround it, 24 bastions are established for defensive purposes. Besides, the Citadel has an ancillary gate connecting the Tran Binh Bastion called the Thai Binh Mon (Peace Gate).

 

Hoang Thanh (Royal Citadel):

The Imperial City is located in the centre of the Citadel where established highest offices of Viet Nam's feudalism and sanctums honouring the cult of decreased Emperors. The Citadel, also has a nearly square form, with more than 600m long for each side, built of brick 4m high, 1m thick, around which is ditched a system of protection trench. Access to the Imperial City can be made by four entrance gates. Noon Gate is only used for the King. Royal Palace consists of more 100 beautiful constructional works divided many sectors.

From the Ngo Mon to the Thai Hoa Palace: This is the place for setting up various grand ceremonies.

Sector for worship shrines of the King of the Nguyen dynasty: Trieu Mieu, Thai Mieu, Hung Mieu, The Mieu and Phung Tien place.

Sector for internal affairs office: Storehouse for precious objects, workshop for manufacturing various useful articles. Sectors for the Kham Van palace and the Co Ha garden: place where the princes are studying or enjoying.

 

Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden citadel):

Located inside the Imperial City, behind the Throne Palace, the Forbidden Purple City is reserved for Emperor and  his family. Constructed early in Emperor Gia Long'reign in 1804 with brick walls 3.72m high, 0,72 m thick, about 1,230 m in circumference. Its front and back sides are 324 m each while either left and right side is more than 290 m including 50 architectural constructions of different sizes and 7 gates for facilities of entrance and exit. Dai Cung Mon (the Great Place Gate) is in the front side for Kings. Can Chanh Palace (the place for every day working of Emperors). Can Thanh (Emperor's Private Palace), Khon Thai Residence (Queen's Private Apartment) reserved for the Queen. Duyet Thi Duong house (Royal Theatre), Thuong Thien (the kitchen for the King' food), Thai Binh Lau (King's reading room)... Besides, Hue is also famous for royal tombs and temples of Nguyen Kings. Seven tombs with different aspect are not not only a wonderful arch but also combining beautiful, imposing nature and poetic of Hue.

Ancient Hue including Perfume River and Ngu Mountain, palaces and citadels, tombs and temples with hundred of historic years are being embellished and recovered by material contribution of Vietnamese and International community in order to keep Hue City as cultural heritage of World.

 

Antiques Museum

Museum of Arts locates in 03 Le Truc street with the area of 6,330 sq.m. This building used to be Long An palace that was constructed in 1845 under Thieu Tri reign. The house was a wonderful wooden work consisting of 128 rare wooden columns. On the surface of the wooden works there were hundreds of classical bas-reliefs, sacred animals such as Dragon, Unicorn, Tortoise, Phoenix and over 1000 poems in Chinese characters. Many researchers have said that the Museum of Royal Arts is the most beautiful palace in Viet Nam.

Three hundreds valuable antiques made of gold, silver, precious stone, glazed terra- cotta, wood are displayed in this palace. Many royal utensils such as tables, chairs, beds, clothes of imperial concubine, princes, royal family members, etc. can be seen here. All the antiques displayed in the Museum are valuable works made by skilled craftsmen.

 

Garden House

Garden house is a typical and unique characteristic of Hue City. Hue people have had a close attachment with the nature since the old days. Hue architecture is always nestled in the nature and the nature is a miniature within the house area depending on each individual. House and garden, people and scenery, plants, clouds and water co-exist and blending with each other in a harmonious context full of humane colors. We'd like to recommend some of famous garden house in Hue as below:

 

AN HIEN GARDEN HOUSE

An Hien Garden House is located in Xuan Hoa Village, Huong Long commune on an area of 4,608 sq.m. This was originally the residence of the 18th daughter of Duc Duc Emperor. After 1895, it was transferred to Mr. Pham Dang Thap, a son of a high-ranking mandarin under Gia Long reign. In 1920, this house was transferred to Mr. Tung Le. The last owner of this house was Mr. Nguyen Dinh Chi, a province chief. He moved into the residence in 1938. When he died, his wife, Mrs. Dao Thi Yen continued to live in this house. She was the person who led the school boycott of Dong Khanh students against the French colonialism in 1927. She then became the Principal of Dong Khanh High School, member of the sixth and seventh National Assembly, and a commissioner of Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee. Accordingly, An Hien Garden House is closely connected with the name, age, life and cause of an active nationalist who had a great contribution to Hue City.

 The gate of the house has an ancient arch design. The gate roof is decorated with a tiger-face figure and stylized designs on both sides. In the middle of the gate, from the outside, under the roof is a book-shaped panel embossed in the wall. A brick board of two Chinese characters meaning An Hien is inlaid with pieces of green and white terracotta in the black background. Above the panel, there are symmetrically two bats spreading their wings and looking down the gate. Right under the book-shaped panel is a colorfully and elegantly tiger-faced figure in a semicircular shape.

An Hien Garden has been described as a fine, sharp, and unique work by many writers. In the garden, many kinds of flowers grow. There are popular kinds of flowers such as jasmine, pergularia, pomegranate, sunflower, climbing rose and indigenous roses. Aristocratic flowers consist of all kinds of orchids and land orchids. Besides the modern roses imported from the European GauJard and Meilland companies, you can find wild tomentose roses. Particularly, the garden has a big camellia presented by a Japanese Flower Association. In addition to the flower abundance, the garden also has many precious fruit-trees yielding year-around sweet fruits, namely mangosteen, durian, Thieu litchi, especially Tien Dien persimmon which are brought from Nghi Xuan district, Ha Tinh Province by a great-grandchild of the great poet Nguyen Du as a present for Mr. And Mrs. Nguyen Dinh Chi. This is a precious and rare kind of persimmon; it bears very delicious seedless fruits every July.

An Hien Garden House is a special cultural characteristic contributing to the beauty of Hue. Entering the garden, you will have a feeling of living in a miniature universe, in a peaceful and charming world. It has an attraction which is always secret as an unfinished book.

 

NGOC SON PRINCESS GARDEN HOUSE

Princess Ngoc Son was a daughter of Dong Khanh Emperor. When she got married, Dong Khanh Emperor granted her an area of 2,370 sq.m. for building a private residence.

Ngoc Son Princess garden area has a wind-screen, rockwork, and alotus pond. It was built relatively early and almost intactly preserved by the descendant generations. The whole garden area is planned methodically in accordance with eastern geomancy rules including a wind-screen, a bright pond, and the position of attending dragon and lying tiger, etc.

The main house is built according to the traditional housing architecture. Entering the house, we can feel a solemn and ancient atmosphere that is totally different from the ordinary life. The whole house shows an elegant life, a bright soul, and an art fondness of the owner. The main house turns its back on the road for both reasons, namely a good direction choice suitable for the owner?s age and an escape from the noisy and effervescent atmosphere of the urban life. The harmony of three factors of Architecture-Human-Natural of the house garden has achieved fineness and created a marvelous attraction to persons who have come here. 

 

LAC TINH GARDEN HOUSE

Lac Tinh Garden was founded in 1889 by the poet Hong Khang. It is located on an area of 2,070 sq.m. in the former Duong Xuan village, now it is at 65 Phan Dinh Phung Street, Hue City. Lac Tinh Garden has a beautiful and cool setting with a symmetrical arrangement of two rows of hibiscuses, roses, laurel and ochna atropurpurea along the path leading to the house. Under the trees are small tables and chairs for enjoying the view and drinking tea. At the end of the path is a stylized book-shaped screen. With the structure of hexagonal beehive, the screen creates openness for the garden and reduces the separation between the house and the surrounding.

There are four houses adjacent to each other in the Lac Tinh Garden. Each house has its own name, which has a special meaning and closely connects in meaning with the owner.

Nhan Hau House (Benevolent House) is used for receiving guests, enjoying the moon and flowers and also distributing relief for the poor. It has an open architecture of parterres and bonsais putting around the house instead of walls.

Hy Tran Trai House is located in the middle of the garden. The interior is decorated with many wood panels. The main compartment has fifty-nine iron wood columns with the flat tiled roof. Rafters are carved with images of dragon, Chinese character, four seasons, eight weapons, etc. by the professional skill of talent artists.

Di Tam Thich The Duong House is a place of studying and living for the offsprings.

The architecture and special arrangement of decorated articles; appliances of the house give all four houses an ancient apperance. They give visitors a strong impression of elegance, refinement, and remind them being light in their steps, soft in their voice, etc. Accordingly, when going out of the Lac Tinh Garden and facing the mundane world, we suddenly want to come back to find the cultural way of life, fondness for learning, behavior manner of aristocrats under the old Nguyen Dynasty.

 

Y THAO GARDEN HOUSE

The owner of Y Thao Garden is an official in Thua Thien Hue cultural branch. This 1,300 sq.m. Garden was constructed fifty years ago. In the middle of the garden is a big rockwork arranged by stones and used as a screen. The two sides are two other small rockwork arranged as variations of Green Dragon and White Tiger.

The rockwork of Green Dragon is gone with a small pond. The White Tiger rockwork is arranged with a small bush symbolizing thousands pines and apricots. Moreover, tourist can find five other rock-works scattered on the grass cover in the garden. They symbolize five famous mountains of the East. The whole of trees in the garden is a meticulous collection, which is carefully looked after by the owner. Perhaps, the most precious thing of Y Thao Garden is two collections of typical fine arts of Hue.

The first collection is over 200 Hue blue ceramics produced under the dynasties of Le-Trinh King, Nguyen Lord over three hundreds years ago. Tourists will be attracted by antique appearance, ancient dynastic titles written in Demotic script (ancient Vietnamese script) and Chinese characters, etc.

The second is Hue mirror painting collection including mirror paintings inlaid with nacre, paintings of princess portrait, scenes in a classical drama extract, four panel paintings of music, chess, poetry, painting, a painting of eight deities, etc.

They are rare antiques with the present value increasing manyfold in comparison with their own real value.

Visiting Y Thao Garden, tourist will surely not wish to come back home quickly as visiting other tourist sites. For researchers on art history, the third or fourth visit to Y Thao Garden will not be their last visit.

Especially, since the Festival Hue 2000, Y Thao Garden has been a place of receiving tourists, serving family meals, vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes of Hue specific.

 

Khai Dinh Tomb

The Tomb of Khai Dinh is located about 10 km away from Hue City. The construction of the tomb was started on September 4th 1920 and lasted for 11 years.  In comparison with those of the preceding emperors, Khai Dinh's tomb is much smaller in surface (117m x 48.5m) but it is very elaborate.  

It is the result of the interminglement of many architectural trends: European and Asian, as well as ancient and modern.

The overall construction of the tomb is an emerging rectangular structure with 127 steps, leaning against the mountain.- Entering the tomb area, one should climb a 37 steps gate with the biggest dragons in the country forming the side walls. In the courtyard, line two rows of left and right altar built according to traditional configuration of "double storeys with eight roofs", but all the rafters are made of reinforced concrete.

 

Climbing 29 further steps, one is reaching the imperial audience court, in the centre of which stands the octagonal stele monument also made of reinforced concrete. On both sides of the courtyard, two rows of statues are facing towards the court center. In addition to these statues, similar to those of the other tombs, there are six more couples representing bodyguard soldiers. These statues are made of stone, a material very rare in Khai Dinh's tomb. The courtyard is flanked on both sides by two high and imposing pillars.  

You have to go up three more levels in order to reach the altar monument. The Khai Thanh Palace is the main room of the Thien Dinh palace, which contains many connecting rooms. The walls are densely decorated and inlaid with elaborate glass and porcelain designs. The floor is covered with enameled flowers bricks and the ceiling is painted with nine dragons, appearing in fine fleeting clouds.

The rear room of the Khai Thanh palace constitutes the main temple, which contains the statue of Khai Dinh, his grave and his altar. The tomb of Khai is one of the most surprising among the royal tombs of Hue.

 

Minh Mang Tomb

The Tomb is 12km form Hue, on Cam Ke mount, near Bang Lang fork, on the west bank of the Perfume River. In September 1840, the construction of the tomb began. In January 1841, while the work was implemented Minh Mang was sick and passed away.

Emperor Thieu Tri, his successor to the throne, continue this task according to his father's plans. Emperor Minh Mang's corpse was buried in Buu Thanh on August 20th of 1841. The construction was fully completed in 1843.

Minh Mang's tomb is a standard architectural complex consisting of 40 constructions (palaces, temples, pavilions, etc.) designed on an symmetric axis running from Dai Hong gate to the foot of La Thanh (Surrounding Wall) behind the Emperor's tomb.

The constructions are distributed into three main parallel axis of which Than Dao path is the centre.

 

Dai Hong Mon

It is the main gate to enter the tomb. The gate presents three paths with 24 heaving roofs covered with beautiful decorations. The gate was opened only once to bring the Emperor's coffin to the tomb, and had been tightly closed since then. Visitors have to use the two side-gates Ta Hong Mon (Left Gate) and Huu Hong Mon (Right Gate).

Bi Dinh 

Behind Dai Hong Mon (big gate) is the Honour Courtyard with its two rows of mandarins, elephants and horses' statues. Bi Dinh (Stele Pavilion) is on Mount Phung Than. Inside is the stele "Thanh Duc Than Cong", inscribed with the Emperor's biography and merits written by his son Thieu Tri.

The temple area 

The Salutation Court is divided into four steps - The Hien Duc Mon (gate) leads to the worship place. In the centre is Sung An Temple surrounded by Ta, Huu Phoi Dien (Left, Right Temples) in the front and Ta, Huu Tung Phong (Left, Right Rooms) in the back. The Emperor and Queen Ta Thien Nhan are worshipped in Sung An Temple. Then, Hoang Trach Mon (gate) leads to the Bright Pavilion (Minh Lau), built on Tam Tai Mount. It is a square pavilion with two storeys and eight roofs. On both sides of Minh Lau, two obelisks stand on the hills. In the back of Minh Lau are two flower gardens designed as the character "Longevity". 

 

The tomb (Buu Thanh)

Tan Nguyet (New Moon) crescent Lake embraces the circular Buu Thanh (The wall surrounding the grave). There are three bridges on Tan Nguyet Lake. Visitors have to climb 33 Thanh stone steps to reach the sepulchre of the Emperor.

Besides nearly 60 word boxes of carved poems in the Stele Pavilion, Hien Duc gate, Sung An Temple, and Minh Pavilion are also remarkable and constitute an anthology of chosen poems of Vietnam?s early 19th century.

Visiting Minh Mang's tomb, one is impressed by the majesty and symmetry of the architectural constructions. 

 

Perfume River

The Perfume River have two sources. They come from the Truong Son range: the Ta Trach (Left Tributary) from Truong Dong mounts toward north-west through 55 impressive waterfalls, and then slowly to Bang Lang fork; the shorter Huu Trach (Right Tributary) flowing through 14 dangerous waterfalls and Tuan ferry landing to Bang Lang fork where the two tributaries join to form the poetic Perfume River.

From Bang Lang to Thuan An estuary, the Perfume River is 30 km long (The river level is not much above that of the sea) so that the river runs very slowly.

The colour of the Perfume River is darker when it winds along the foot of Ngoc Tran mount - the Jade Cup Temple - where there is a very deep abyss.

The Perfume River is beautiful sight from its source, and winds among mountains, forest trees, plants, etc. bringing with it fragrances of tropical flora. The river runs slowly through the verdant and shady villages of Kim Long, Nguyet Bieu, Vy Da, Dong Ba, Gia Hoi, Dinh market, Nam Pho, Bao Vinh, mingling with the odours of flowers of Hue... The river with the shimmer blue limpid colour is like a pearl in the sun. Hue boats rowing up and down with remote, meditative and deep folk melodies at deep night. It is an eternal pleasure for many generations of tourists who go boating to behold the poetic landscape, to listen to the folk melodies of Hue in tranquil nights.

The views on both  sides of the river with the citadel, town, gardens, pagodas, towers and temples, etc. and their reflections in the waters make the already loveable river even more poetic and musical. Many people think that Hue city has peaceful, gentle and tranquil landscapes mostly thanks to the Perfume River. This river brings to the city a meditative poetic characteristics and the harmonious limpidity exhaling from a land of age-old culture.

The 105m Ngu Binh has a striking and symmetric figure. On both sides of the Even Mount (Bang Son) are 2 small mounts called Ta Bat Son (Left Mount) and Huu Bat Son (Right Mount). The Nguyen dynasty was established and decided to build up the Hue Capital. When seeing that Bang Son look like a front screen. Gia Long Emperor approved the design of geo-mancers: to choose this mount as a front altar of the imposing and solid defending wall system, and renamed it Ngu Binh.

Together with the Perfume River, Ngu Binh Mount is the second invaluable gift endowed by Nature to Hue. These two mingle with each other creating the romantic mountain and river beauty of Hue. For a long time, this beautiful mount and the blue limpid Perfume River have become the symbol of Hue city. Therefore, people often call Hue "The land of the Perfume River and Ngu Binh mount" or "Huong-Ngu Land".

 

Phu  Cam Church

Phu Cam main Cathedral is situated at Phuoc Vinh, Hue City. The Cathedral was built with modern architecture, designed by the architect Ngo Viet Duc.

In early 1963, the construction of the Cathedral was built. To 1967 only the Saint Palace was built and then to 1965, the Cathedral was basically completed .Phu Cam cathedral was built by new concept of physical structure. Supporting pillars were concreted closely attached to the walls and gradually and supplely bended ahead. The three supporting pillars at each of four corners stretch out and create a fairly large space to embrace the whole of Saint Palace and Saint Altar.

The interior of the Cathedral was built following classical tradition with Latin Holy Cross and two opening doors. There are two row of colour glass windows located in the upper interior of the Cathedral and in the middle, there is a Holy Cross made of steel and concrete.

The Saint Palace is a round shape with foot steps and on the top there is a smaller round shape with the altar made of marble bloc. Temporary house was closely built to the backstage of the cathedral fitted in the concave part behind and settle on a high platform in the center.

In the two wings of the crucifix, there is the tomb of the former archbishop Philipe Nguyen Kim Dien (1921-1988) in the left and in the opposite right - the altar for presenting the Saint.

In front of the Phu Cam main cathedral there are two moulding statues: the Saint Phero is in the right, and in the left is Saint Paulo and other missionaries of the Phu Cam diocese.The open-space of Phu Cam main cathedral looks like an opening-mouth-dragon and in general Phu Cam cathedral with its top perpendicularly stretching to the sky is very purified and full of artistic and religious characters.

 

Thien Mu Pagoda

Thien Mu pagoda overlooks the Perfume River and the beautiful scenery beyond. Although the 21-meter tall tower is the centerpiece of the temple, the history of Thien Mu extends back to 1601, when the temple was founded by Nguyen Hoang, governor of Thuan Hoa province. Legend says that Nguyen Hoang built the temple to fulfill a prophecy from a 'fairy woman' (Thien Mu) that a great lord would arrive to build a pagoda for the prosperity of the country.

The temple also displays a 2000 kilogram bell cast in 1710 and a stele from 1715.

The name of the pagoda comes from a legend: a long ago, an old woman appeared on the hill where the pagoda stands today. She told local people that a Lord would come and build a Buddhist pagoda for the country's prosperity. Lord Nguyen Hoang, on hearing that, ordered the construction of the pagoda of the "Heavenly Lady".

The pagoda is situated on  Ha Khe hill, on the left bank of the Perfume River, in Huong Long village, 5km from Hue city.

It was built in 1601, and then Lord Nguyen Phuc Tan had it renovated in 1665. In 1710, Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu had a great bell cast (2.5m high, 3.285kg) and in 1715, he had a stele (2.58 m high) erected on the back of a marble tortoise.

Several kings of the Nguyen Dynasty such as Gia Long, Minh Mang, Thieu Tri and Thanh Thai, all had the pagoda restored. Phuoc Duyen tower (at first called Tu Nhan tower) was erected in 1884 by King Thieu Tri. This octagonal tower has seven storeys (2m high). Dai Hung shrine, the main-hall, presents a magnificent architecture. As well as bronze cast statues, it shelters some precious antiques: the bronze gong cast in 1677, the wooden gilded board with Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu's inscriptions (1714). On both sides of the pagoda are a room for the bonzes and a guest-room for visitors.

The pagoda is surrounded by flowers and ornamental plants. At the far end of the garden stretches a calm and romantic pine-tree forest.

The pagoda was heavily damaged in 1943. Bonze Thich Don Hau hence organised a great renovation of the pagoda, that lasted for more than 30 years.

Nowadays the pagoda is very well-maintained and very welcoming to all visitors.

 

Tu Dam Pagoda

Tu Dam pagoda is one of the biggest pagodas in Hue. The pagoda was founded at the end of the 17th century (in about 1695) by the Venerable Minh Hoang Tu Dung, a Chinese who belonged to the 34th sect of the Lam Te school of Zen. He was the high-ranking monk who taught and gave the certification to monk Lieu Quan, the Buddhist initiator of Vietnam in the South.

Tu Dam pagoda is now in the district of Truong An, on a beautiful piece of land: high, wide and flat. The pagoda is only 2km from the centre of Hue city, along Dien Bien Phu street, across Nam Giao Bridge up to the end of the first slope. The pagoda has a south-east orientation. Kim Phung mount in the front served as a natural wind-screen. Linh Quang pagoda and the temple dedicated to respectable patriot Phan Boi Chau stand on the left, and Thien Minh pagoda, in the back.

Tu Dam is not the biggest nor the oldest pagoda in the country, but it is famous and nationally known for its important role in the process of development of Buddhism, and the struggle for peace and for freedom of religion.

Tu Dam pagoda was designed following the model of a conference pagoda (Chua Hoi). The old and new architectures blend together creating spacious and  harmonious elements. The three main parts of the pagoda are the three entrance gate, the main sanctuary and the conference House.

The gate is high and wide with a tiled roof. Just inside the gate is a big bodhi tree, providing shadow all year around. As a branch, this bodhi tree was taken right from the bodhi tree under which Buddha reached Nirvana. Mrs Karpeies, Head of the French Buddhist Association, brought it back from India as a present offered to the pagoda and planted it there in 1936. The pagoda yard was built on a very large surface so that it can provide enough space for thousands of people. Every year, on Buddha's birthday, it is a gathering place where many important and most crowded festivals of Hue's Buddhists take place.

The main sanctuary consists of a service hall and an ancestors' altar. The service hall was built on a marble foundation 1.5m high with an old style roof forming a towering and impressive pagoda. On the edge and top of the roof are many curving, gentle, symmetric pairs of dragons creating a well-balanced and harmonious beauty. Under the ancient roof are frescoes telling Buddha's stories. Many long couplets are hung on the pillars of the Service hall. The building is flanked by two stele and drum towers.

Tu Dam pagoda worships one Buddha only, so that its appointments are rather simpler than that of other pagodas in Hue. In the temple, there is a Buddha Sakyamuni sitting on a lotus pedestal. There are an ancestors' altar house and a monks' house behind the main temple. The two storey Conference Hall is large and wide building with 10 rooms to meet the requirements of a conference pagoda.

 

Tu Duc Tomb

Tomb of Tu Duc is one of the most beautiful works of royal architecture of  the Nguyen dynasty. The tomb lies in a boundless pine forest, 8 km from Hue. Its construction started in December 1864 and finished in 1867.  

Inside the surrounding wall about 12 hectares wide, nearly 50 constructions were built on terraces of various levels (about 10m difference). All constructions include the word Khiem (Modesty) in their names.

The tomb is divided into two main parts:

The temple area:

Entering Vu Khiem entrance, there is Luu Khiem Lake. On the lake are Xung Khiem Pavilion and Du Khiem Pavilion where the Emperor used to come to admire flowers, compose poems, read books, etc.

Then, three Thanh stone steps to Khiem Cung gate lead to Hoa Khiem Palace, which used to be the Emperor's working place, and is now the altar devoted to the Emperor and the Queen. On both sides are Phap Khiem House and Le Khiem House for the military and civil mandarins.  

Behind Hoa Khiem Palace is Luong Khiem Palace, which was also the Emperor's resting place, and was later used to worship Mrs. Tu Du (Tu Duc's Mother). On the right of Luong Khiem Palace stand On Khiem Palace, where the royal utensils are kept. On the left of Luong Khiem Palace is Minh Khiem theatre. Then, comes Chi Khiem, the altar to worship the Emperor's wives, Tri Khiem Palace and Y Khiem Palace were the accommodations of the Emperor's concubines.

The tomb area:

On the left of the temple is the necropolis itself slopping upward with the Honour Courtyard, the Stele Pavilion, and the seplucre. Rightbehind Bai Dinh (Honour Courtyard), with two rows of magnificent military and civil mandarins, is Bi Dinh (Stele Pavilion) with the biggest stone stele in Vietnam. It is inscribed with Khiem Cung narrative, composed by the Emperor himself, writing about his life and imperial cause as well as his misadventures and diseases, etc. On the hill, opposite the semi-circular Tieu Khiem Tri lake, is the Buu Thanh brick wall, in the middle is a stone house, where the Emperor was buried.

Tu Duc's tomb is not only one of the most beautiful works of the Nguyen dynasty, but it is also a romantic scenery of mounts and lakes.

 

Tu Hieu Pagoda

The pagoda is located at Duong Xuan Thuong III hamlet, in Thuy Xuan village, 5km southwest of Hue. It faces the southeast and uses Ngu Binh mount as a front screen.

The pagoda was originally a small hut built by Nhat Dinh in 1843, who was formerly recognized by royal authority as the monk of Giac Hoang Pagoda. In 1848, the pagoda was restored by monk Cung Ky with the help of the king's eunuchs and courtiers. Tu Hieu hence became a large pagoda.

 

In 1894, it was rebuilt by Cuong Ky with the support of King Thanh Thai and the King's eunuchs created the half-moon lake. In 1962, the pagoda was renovated by Most Ven. Chon Thiet. And in 1971 the three entrance gate and the staff houses were rehabilitated by senior monk Chi Niem. 

The pagoda was built in the shape of the Chinese character "Khau" (mouth), with the main building consisting of three rooms and two wings. The main sanctuary is devoted to the worship of Buddha. Behind there is a room honoring former monks of the pagoda. Across a courtyard, the Quang Hieu Duong Hall houses an altar dedicated to local Buddhist devotees on the right, another to the deity Quan Cong in the center, and a third to the eunuchs on the left. A separate altar in this hall honors Le Van Duyet, an outstanding mandarin during the reign of Emperor Gia Long. On the left side of the courtyard are the living quarters of the monks (Ta Lac Thien) and to Tu Hieu right is the guest-house (Huu Ai Nhat).

The entrance gate to the pagoda is a curved two storey structure. On the second storey, a statue of the guardian spirit Ho Phap protects the pagoda. Inside the gate is a crescent-lotus pond. On both sides of the courtyard are stele houses engraved with the history of the pagoda.

 

Flag Tower

Flag Tower ( Cot co) , the 37m-high known as the King’s Knight, is Vietnam’s tallest flagpole.

 

Nne Holy Cannons

Located just inside the Citadel ramparts near the gates to either side of the Flag Twoer , the Nine Holy cannons, symbolic protectors of the palace and kingdon, wer cast from brass pieces captured from the Tay Son Rebels.

 

Imperial Enclosure

A citadel with 6m-high walss that are 2.5km in length. The Imperial Enclosure has four gates , the most famous of which is Ngo Mon gate.

 

Thai Hoa palace ( Palace of Supreme Harmony)

Thai Hoa palace is a spacious hall with an ornate timber roof supported by 80 carved and lacqured columns. Acessible from Ngo Mon Gate via Trung Dao Bridge, it was used for the empero’s official receptions and othr important court ceremonies.





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