Hue – ancient capital city of Vietnam is famous for its charming beauty with sights of ancient monument, especially royal tombs. There are 7 royal tombs of the Emperor of Nguyen Dynasty scatter along the Perfume River. Visiting all of 7 tombs is impossible in one day so here are the top royal tombs in Hue certainly worth a visit if you want to save time for your stay in Hue.
TOMB OF MINH MANG EMPEROR (MINH MANG TOMB)
Minh Mang Tomb is in Huong Tho Commune, Huong Tra District and about 12 km south of Hue City center.
The Emperor Minh Mang reigned from 1820 to 1841. In September 1840, after many years of looking for a suitable location, the construction of the tomb began. However, it was still incomplete upon his death. After his death in 1841, his son – Emperor Thieu Tri continued the task and completed the monument in 1843.
Minh Mang Tomb was praised as the most majestic of all Nguyen Dynasty royal tombs. The forty constructions within the royal tomb complex lie within an oval walled compound. The complex is divided in two by a central path that contains the salutation court, stele pavilion, temple, lake and the emperor’s own tomb.
The structure is as a symmetric axis running from the Dai Hong Mon to the foot of the Surrounding Wall behind the King’s tomb. Besides, Dai Hong Mon- the main entrance to the tomb is a gate with three openings; the center gate was opened only once for the body of the Emperor. Visitors must enter through the two side gates – Ta Hong Mon (on the left) and Huu Hong Mon (on the right).
Adjacent to the main gate, there is the Honors Courtyard, where two rows of mandarins, elephants and horse’s stone statues are standing. From the courtyard, there are three staircases lead to the Stele Pavilion. The stele “Thánh Đức Thần Công” contains inscriptions from Minh Mạng’s biography written by his son. The Hien Duc Gate leads the Salutation Court. In the centre, the Sung An Dien Temple is the worship site for the Emperor and his wife. Closer to the tomb area, there is a crescent- shaped lake called New Moon Lake (Ho Tan Nguyet).
Many said that the tomb is a perfect combination of man-made and natural beauty of Hue, a balance of landscaping and architecture.
TOMB OF TU DUC EMPEROR (TU DUC TOMB)
Tu Duc’s Tomb is in Duong Xuan Thuong Village, 8 km from Hue City. It is one of the most beautiful and picturesque Hue royal tombs of Nguyen Dynasty.
The tomb constructed between 1864 and 1867 is the largest and most luxurious one in Hue. The construction of the tomb requires an enormous amount of money and labour, consequently which resulted in a rebellion of workers.
Tu Duc is the only Emperor who moved his household into his own tomb used as a place where he retreated to compose poetry and go hunting in his lifetime.
Coming to Tu Duc Tomb, you may feel like you are in a large park of scenic beauty. Inside the complex, there is a big solid octagonal wall surrounding about 50 gates, buildings, terraces and pavilions. Some notable sites in the temple area are Luu Khiem Lake, Tinh Khiem Island, Xung Khiem Pavilion, Hoa Khiem Temple. Especially, a royal theatre called Minh Khiem Duong is one of the most ancient theaters in Vietnam.
The tomb area includes the Honour Courtyard, the Stele Pavilion, and the sepulcher. The Stele Pavilion of the tomb is famous as the biggest one in Vietnam. The Emperor Tu Duc has self- written about his life on the stele since he had no son to do this duty.
TOMB OF KHAI DINH EMPEROR (KHAI DINH TOMB)
Emperor Khai Dinh, who reigned from 1916 to1925, has chosen slope of Chau Chu mountain (10km from Hue) to build his tomb. The construction began in 1920, but was not still finished when the Emperor Khai Dinh died in 1925. Then his son – Bao Dai the last Emperor of Nguyen Dynasty finally completed in 1931, that means it took 11 years for this construction. The architecture of this tomb is the most criticized of all the royal tombs of the Nguyen dynasty.
When compared to other tombs in Hue, Khai Dinh Tomb is much smaller. Its architecture is also different with other royal tombs in Hue. The overall construction of the tomb lies on the side of a mountain with 127 steps up from street level. After passing the gate, visitors enter the courtyard and climb up 37 steps to reach the forecourt level. There are honor guard of stone bodyguards, mandarins, elephants, and horses occupying two rows on each side of the forecourt. In the middle of the forecourt, a stele pavilion commemorates Khai Dinh’s life and accomplishments. Next, going up one more level one reaches the altar area. The Khai Thanh Palace is the main room of the Thien Dinh palace. In the center rear of Thien Dinh Palace, there is a bronze statue of the Emperor Khai Dinh, his grave and his altar.
Especially, Khai Dinh chose to build his tomb by modern materials such as concrete, slates and wrought iron, glass and ceramic. Additionally, the whole structure of Khai Dinh Tomb is a mixture of Eastern and Western concepts.
HUE TOMBS TRAVEL GUIDE
Entrance fee: 100,000 VND for adults; 20,000 for children under 12
Operating time: 8:00 – 18:00.
In short, most Nguyen Dynasty’s royal tombs are quite far from Hue city center. Therefore, you can travel by motorbike, taxi or book a tourist tour. Find out more at I LOVE VIETNAM TOUR for our customized tour to give these historical attractions a visit and get interesting experiences.