Located in the central of Vietnam, Hue was the old capital under the domination of the last feudalistic dynasty – the Nguyen. It might be for this reason that created such an ancient, romantic like Hue. Besides, Hue is also famous for the sophistication and subtlety expressing through its culture, especially in cuisine. When in Hue, it is highly recommended to visit and experience those that mentioned below:
Hue citadel, built in 1803 and taken nearly 30 years to complete, is a 9000m in circumference rampart parade with 24 fortresses on the surface. Outside, along the edge, there is a deep trench used for protection. The citadel has 8 gates that face to 8 directions: North, West, South, East, Northwest, Southwest, Northeast, and Southeast. According to principles of Oriental feng shui, the citadel faces to the South, 4 sides is surrounded by rivers system. Inside the citadel is the Royal palace, includes the Royal citadel and Forbidden city in which used to protect the most important ritual, political area of the court and the working, living area of the King and his family, respectively. The Royal Palace is built in square shape and has 4 gates, however, the main gate named Ngo Mon just served only for the King. It has more than 100 beautiful architectural buildings separated into various areas such as: Ngo Mon gate and Thai Hoa palace where organized the big ceremonies, Dien Tho palace was the residence of queen mother, Duyet Thi Duong (theater), Thuong Thien (Royal kitchen), Cam Uyen garden… Even though most of these architectures were made from valuable kinds of wood, they cannot suffer disasters and the devastation of wars for ages. Therefore, some of them were damaged partly or even collapsed; luckily, the embellishment has been carrying out gradually.
Gia Long tomb, the rest place of the first King of the Nguyen dynasty – Gia Long King, was built from 1814 to 1820. To get here, you can go by boat along Huong river about 18km to the tomb’s port or travel by land about 16km.
The whole tomb area is a group of mountains with 42 hills and mountains, of which the biggest one named Dai Thien Tho was chosen to be the front of the tomb and to name for the whole group of mountains.
The King’s grave is located on a flat large hill. The front is the great Dai Thien Tho mountain, the back is protected by 7 mountains. Both sides also have 14 mountains stand for “ green dragons” on the right and “white tigers” on the left. The royal tomb is divided into 3 areas:
Right in the middle are tombs of Gia Long King and Thua Thien Cao Queen. Over the ground standing the august stone statues and Buu Thanh on the top of the hill. Inside Buu Thanh, there are 2 stone graves symbolling for happiness and loyalty.
The right-side is Minh Thanh palace in which used to worship the King and the Queen. In the past, this place stored remembrances that had been along with the King in his war life.
On the left of the tomb is Bi Dinh Temple, but now only remain the large stele that carved the poem to praise the merit of Gia Long written by his son- Minh Mang King.
Gia Long Tomb is such a wonderful picture inside nature and its architecture has created imposing features for natural landscape.
Minh Mang Tomb (also known as Hieu Son Tomb) was started work in 1840, however, while the construction was carrying out, Minh Mang King passed away in 1841. Thieu Tri who was his son, succeeded to the throne and took over the responsibility for the tomb building. It was not until 1843 that the construction had been completed.
Minh Mang Tomb is a complex of architecture including about 40 different buildings such as palaces, castles, temples… which were located in length way from Dai Hong Mon to La Thanh behind King’s grave.
Minh Mang Tomb is divided into main areas:
Dai Hong Mon: the main gate which has 3 ways with 24 beautiful-decorated roofs. The main gate opened only one time to enter the coffin to the tomb. After that, only the 2 sub-gates, Ta Hong Mon and Huu Hong Mon have been used to go in and out.
Bi Dinh: the large yard including 2 statues rows of mandarins, elephants and horses. Bi Dinh located on Phung Son hill which has the “Thanh Duc Than Cong” stele written by Thieu Tri King to praise the credit of Minh Mang.
Palace area: used to worship King and Queen
Buu Thanh (the wall around grave): this round wall is covered by new moon-shaped lake named Tan Nguyet. Over the Thong Minh Chinh Truc bridge which has 33 stone steps crossing the lake is the rest place of the King. His grave lies in the center of the Khai Trach Son hill inside Buu Thanh.
Minh Mang tomb has not only the imposing, impressive beauty but also the charm of nature