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Tu Duc Tomb – The impressive construction of the Nguyen Dynasty

Tomb of Tu Duc is often called Khiem Lang. This is one of the historic monuments belonging to Hue ancient vestige complex. It was recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage on December 11, 1993. Tu Duc Tomb is the burial ground of the 4th emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. That is King Tu Duc or Nguyen Phuc Hong Nham. He ruled for 36 years from 1847 to 1883. Besides, he was also one of the kings to hold the longest throne in the Nguyen Dynasty.

1. The reason for building Tu Duc tomb

According to historical records, since the Nguyen Dynasty adopted the rule of feudalism, the first son of King Thieu Tri, who named Hong Bao, automatically became the successor. However, due to limited talent, arrogant temperament, Hong Bao was removed from Tiem throne. Hong Nham, who was the second son of the king, was promoted to the throne. And he called himself Tu Duc. 

The reason for building Tu Duc tomb

King Tu Duc, who loved the people and the country, was the longest ruler among the 13 Nguyen kings. He was portrayed as a talented poet but physically weak and pessimistic.

In the context of difficult society at that time, brothers fight for the throne. Because Tu Duc himself was in poor health, King Tu Duc ordered to build the tomb. This place became the second palace for king to drain grief and prevent a sudden departure. When the tomb was built, it was called Van Nien Co. But after the Chay Voi uprising, King Tu Duc changed the name to Khiem Cung. Finally, after the king’s death, they called it Khiem Lang.

2. The process of building Tu Duc tomb

Tu Duc Tomb is an ancient architectural complex located in a narrow valley in Duong Xuan village. But now it is in Thuong Ba hamlet, Thuy Xuan ward, Hue city.

The process of building Tu Duc tomb

In 1864, the Tomb of Tu Duc was started construction with 50,000 soldiers involved.
In the 19th year of Tu Duc (1866), due to the extreme misery of the construction of Van Nien Co, a force of soldiers and civilians who built the tomb rebelled. Although the uprising was suppressed, due to this incident, the king had to change Van Nien Co’s name to Khiem Cung and write a sympathetic speech to apologize.
In 1873, they completed Khiem Cung.

3. The location of Tu Duc Tomb

This place is located in Thuy Bieu Commune, Hue City, Thua Thien Hue Province. They built the mausoleum in a very peaceful land and in a narrow valley in Duong Xuan Thuong village.

4. The artistic value of Tu Duc Tomb

The artistic value of Tu Duc Tomb

With the elegant architecture of Tu Duc Mausoleum, a beautiful picture of water color has been created. Tomb of Tu Duc had been on the list of the most beautiful architectural works of the nineteenth century.

5. Road to Tu Duc Tomb

This place is 6km from Hue city to the southwest. If traveling by motorbike or self-driving car, you can move to the South on Hoai Thanh Street, then turn right to Nguyen Trung Ngan Street. Running another 160m, visitors turn left to Huyen Tran Cong Chua street.

Road to Tu Duc tomb

Next, from Huyen Tran Cong Chua Street, visitors go straight for another 700m and turn left to Doan Nhu Hai Street. Running another 450m, visitors will reach the Tomb of Tu Duc – Khiem Lang in Thuy Xuan Ward, Hue City.

6. Tomb of Tu Duc scale

Emperor Tu Duc’s mausoleum possesses an area of ​​nearly 12 hectares, 10 times than King Gia Long’s tomb. The layout of the tomb includes tombs with about 50 large and small structures. In addition, all of these buildings which belong to the Tu Duc mausoleum were accompanied by the word “Khiem”.

7. Ancient architecture of Tu Duc tomb

This place is one of the most beautiful architectural works belonging to the architectural complex of the tomb and palace of the Nguyen Dynasty in the ancient capital of Hue. Following the stains of time, many buildings here have become devastated. Additionally, the architectural lines faded but still possess a regal architecture.

Khiem Cung Mon

Khiem Cung Mon

Khiem Cung Mon is one of the two-storey gazebo buildings for the king to rest whenever he comes here. In the middle is the Hoa Khiem palace, where worshipping activities to the king and queen are taking place nowadays.

Luong Khiem Palace

Luong Khiem Palace

Luong Khiem Palace is located behind Hoa Khiem Palace in Khiem Cung Mon. Formerly this place was originally the king’s resting place. But after that, this place was used as a place to worship the spirits of Mrs. Tu Du and the mother of King Tu Duc. On the right of the main hall is On Khiem Duong, which is also the place to store utensils.

Minh Khiem Theater

Minh Khiem Theater

Located on the left side of Luong Khiem palace, it is where the king watched and sang. This theater is one of the oldest theaters in Vietnam today. Most of the walls or empty pillars are elaborately carved with prominent patterns. Nowadays you often see the old style through the pictures of beautiful wooden setters.

Tinh Khiem Island

tinh Khiem Island

Tinh Khiem Island is the land which used to grow flowers and raise animals. This is the place where the king often visits to enjoy ornamental flowers, recite poetry, read books. In addition, it has three bridges connecting to pine hills.

Tomb area

The tomb area is right behind the mausoleum. The first is Bai Dinh with two rows of statues of martial arts officials to serve the king across the world. Next to Bai Dinh is Bi Dinh, which has a stone tablet of Thanh Hoa weighing up to 20 tons with the inscription “Khiem Cung Ky” written by the king.

Tomb area

Moreover, on the hill lying on the other side of the stele is the Buu Thanh semicircular lake which was built with bricks. And in the middle is the tomb of King Tu Duc built on 3 floors of stone bar.

In addition, a special unknown area in this complex is Boi Lang, the resting place of King Kien Phuc, the 7th king of the Nguyen Dynasty. Tu Duc Tomb attracts a large number of tourists thanks to the beauty of the fairy which lulls people to the natural world.

So what do you expect more for a great trip? Please contact us – Asia Master Tours for guidance, advice and get the most preferential price when you, your family and friends are going to enjoy Hue city.

You can view more articles about traveling to Vietnam and explore more famous places such as Minh Mang tomb and Hue imperial city.

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  • Mediaworxinternational

    February 14, 2020

    Being the leader of the country at that time, however, the king himself was not always healthy. To avoid the harsh life, Emperor Tu Duc built the complex as a second palace for his divertissement and the preparation for his resting place. When having started the construction, the Emperor called the construction Van Nien Co. Constructed between 1864 and 1867, however, the tomb required an incredible amount of money and labour, thus resulted in a rebellion of workers. Therefore, it was renamed Khiem Palace. Finally, it was called Khiem Lang (Khiem Tomb) after the Emperor died. In addition, all the constructions’ names were changed to bear the word Khiem (Modesty) in their names, as the king wanted to express his humility. Unlike the architecture of other tombs in Hue, Tomb of Tu Duc consists of two main parts, arranged on two parallel vertical axes. The panorama of Tu Duc’s Tomb looks like as a large park. Here, there are always the sounds of the flowing stream, of rustling pine hill, and of all the birds singing. In particular, the factor thoroughly adhered in the tomb of Tu Duc is the harmony of contours. There are no straight lines, angular architecture as others, but Bat Trang brick-tiled roads instead departs from Vu Khiem door through Khiem Cung Mon and winds in front of the tomb and suddenly hides in giant plumeri near Tomb of Queen Le Thien Anh. The creation of the locals in harmony with the natural landscapes creates lovely and magnificent scenery. In the allure of the heaven and earth along with the its fragrance, people find easy to forget that it is the resting place of a deceased person but imagines a paradise of trees, of poetry and dream.


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