Besides the architecture of the citadel, court, mausoleum … of the feudal dynasty; Hue also has a different architectural heritage – it is a garden house – An Hien Garden House. An Hien Garden House is one of the most sites attracting tourists in Hue, since it brings both noble elite and traditional folk colors.
The long history of a small town
An Hien Garden House is located on the north bank of Huong River, at 58 Nguyen Phuc Nguyen Street, Xuan Hoa Village, Huong Long Commune, Hue City. As well as the city and other architectures in Hue, the garden also faces the romantic Perfume River and is not far from the famous Pagoda – Thien Mu.
An Hien Garden House has a long history and many owners. According to family documents, before 1895, the earliest owner was a princess of Duc Duc King. The next owner is Pham Dang Khanh, grandson of the great Pham Dang Hung the Gia Long. In 1920, the new owner was Kham Diep. In 1936, Mr. Tham Tieu – Kham Diep’s son sold to Tuan Vu Nguyen Dinh Chi. The wife of Mr. Nguyen Dinh Chi, Mrs. Dao Thi Xuan Yen has inherited and continues to manage and preserve the garden. She is the longest keeper and has improved the value of An Hien Garden House until her death in 1997.
After the unification of the country (1975) until Dao Thi Xuan Yen died (1997), An Hien became a cultural landmark of the ancient capital. At present, An Hien garden house is inherited by the daughter-in-law Phan Thi Hoang Oanh and four grandchildren (currently living in France).
An exemplary garden architecture
An Hien is a typical and exemplary architecture of the garden of Hue, blended with nature and is planned to follow the feng shui principles of the traditional architecture of the Orient. The main direction of the house turns toward the Perfume River. The whole campus is nearly 5000m2, always covered by green leaves.
The architecture of An Hien Garden House
The gate of the garden house outside looks humble, hidden behind the shadow arches. The gate is built by bricks with ancient typical features of Hue architecture. The dome on the gate is decorated with tigers, the two sides of the gate are the pair of parallel sentences, above the arch is a floating board with two letters AN HIEN. All decorative details are inlaid with glazed ceramic tiles. Above the gate is a two-headed bat.
From the entrance to the house, tourists will go through a small path under the apricot dome knitting together, creating depth and a sense of calm, solemnity. The layout of the house with the garden is very tight, reasonable with beautiful architectural proportions, suitable for the landscape. In front of the house, where the end of the path with two rows of plum was a screen which is elegant, gentle. Between the screen and the house is a water tank dropping flowers; This is the factor “clarification” in feng shui. The main structure is a 3-room house located almost in the center of the garden.
The house is 135m2 wide, exemplary architecture of the traditional architecture in general and Hue style house in particular. The entire frame structure of the house is made of wood. There are all 48 pillars, and the truss is made of wood jackfruit. First of all, the pillars are pillared on square stone pedestals. Furthermore, the truss system is engraved with sophisticated patterns. The roof tiles are laminated in many layers, and roofs on the sides are decorated with dragons and in the middle of the roof top has lotus shape.
The interior space of the house is clearly divided according to functional use. The middle space is the altar, the two compartments are the place of living and activities of men (on the left) and women (on the right), according to ancient ideas of feudalism. Especially, the house has many precious objects of royal court Nguyen Dynasty.
Peaceful place of the flower and fruit in four seasons
It is not only a special house that generates many generations of noble descendants, a beautiful architecture in harmony with the romantic landscape; An Hien is actually an ecological space, a four-season orchard.
In addition, many trees here have dozens of years such as apricot trees in the entrance of the plant planted in the 1940s. Many fruit trees, rare species in all three regions are brought here to plant. For example, mangosteen, durian, dragon fruit … of the South; apricot, persimmon, litchi … of the North; strawberry, fig … of Central Vietnam.
In addition, An Hien Garden is also a flower garden. In the spring, apricot flowers bloom in the entrance, summer flowers bloom red on the water … Next to the new house is an orchid with dozens of different species.
For more than a hundred years, An Hien has spent many lives, experiencing the ups and downs of history and the harshness of time. An Hien Garden is now a peaceful place, a cultural landmark of the ancient capital. In this place, people can feel a different world outside life: deeper, slower and calmer. It is a calm and relaxing space. It is a place where nature and humanity are reconciled…