Known as one of the most beautiful monuments of Nguyen Dynasty, Tu Duc tomb is a worship and burial place of the fourth Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. The harmony of architecture and scenery create a romantic and poetic tomb.
1. Tu Duc Emperor
Tu Duc Emperor’s real name is Nguyen Phuc Hong Nham, the fourth emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. He is the second son of Thieu Tri Emperor and Tu Du Queen. Tu Duc was the king who had the longest reign of 36 years from 1847 to 1883. He had a wise literacy level especially in poetry and literature. During the rule period, however, Tu Duc had to face the difficulties which were inner fights for the throne of the royal family, and the attack of the enemy outside.
Tu Duc Emperor did not have a child. Besides, he often got sick and sad. Because of that, Tu Duc tomb was constructed as a second palace to rest of the emperor and in case the Emperor passed away suddenly.
2. Tu Duc Royal Tomb Overview
2.1 A brief history of Tu Duc tomb
In December of 1864, Tu Duc tomb started to be built with the name of “Van Nien Co”. In advance, Van Nien Co was intended to be constructed in 6 to 7 years by 3 thousands of soldiers and builders under the command of Nguyen Binh, Nguyen Van Chat and Le Van Xa mandarins. In 1865, Nguyen Van Chat and Le Van Xa mandarins asked to shorten construction time to 3 years. Because of working all day under harsh weather and lacking break time, soldiers and builders stood up against the court under the leadership of the siblings Doan Huu Trung in 1866.
The fame of Tu Duc emperor was badly affected, so the emperor changed the name “Van Nien Co” into “Khiem Lang”. Khiem Lang was continuously built until 1867 the tomb was basically completed.
2.2 What to know when visit Tu Duc Royal Tomb
There are some things you must know before visit Tu Duc tomb
The time open and close in Tu Duc tomb:
- In summer: from 6:30 am to 5:30 p.m
- In winter: from 7:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m
The ticket price for entrance:
- Adult: 150.000 VND
- The children under 12: 30.000 VND
How to buy tickets:
You can buy tickets in the ticket counter in front of Tu Duc tomb or you can book via booking websites.
Regulations when visit Tu Duc tomb:
- You have to buy a ticket in order to enter Tu Duc tomb.
- Keep the environment clean, ensure order and security, follow the regulations about fire prevention in Tu Duc tomb.
- Do not bring explosive and poisonous substances, dangerous weapons enter Tu Duc tomb.
- Do not wear shorts, tank tops when visiting worship places, keep silent inside the palace.
- Do not take pictures or videos inside the palace.
- Do not smoke in the palace, pine forest and places that easily get fire.
- Do not pick flowers, branches, hunt birds and animals, and draw on monuments.
- Do not lie, sit and touch on artifacts.
2.3 Tu Duc Royal Tomb Architecture
Tu Duc tomb has complex architecture, poetic and romantic landscape which is one of the most gorgeous tombs of Nguyen Emperors.
Tu Duc tomb consists of 2 parts: worship and burial area. These parts are paralleled. In front of the tomb is Giang Khiem mountain, Duong Xuan mountain behind and Luu Khiem lake in the middle.
There are almost 50 monuments in Tu Duc tomb named “Khiem” such as Vu Khiem gate, Luu Khiem lake, Tinh Khiem island, Chi Khiem palace, and so on.
Across Vu Khiem gate, follow a path made of Bat Trang brick and you will see Chi Khiem palace where worshipping concubines of Tu Duc Emperor.
From Khiem Cung gate go down 2 steps to Luu Khiem lake. Architects dug deeply to create Luu Khiem lake relying on 2 natural streams. There are a lot of lotus blooms in the lake. In the middle of the lake is Tinh Khiem island, an artificial island, where rare plants and animals live. These elements make a picturesque and poetic scenery of Tu Duc tomb.
Du Khiem Ta and the opposite side is Xung Khiem Ta are two pavilions where the Emperor enjoys landscape and composes poetrys.
Enter Khiem Cung gate is the rest space of the Emperor, two sides are Le Khiem Vu house and Phap Khiem Vu house. In the middle is Hoa Khiem palace where the Emperor often worked. Nowadays, the altars of Tu Duc emperor and his queen are in this palace. Behind Hoa Khiem palace is Luong Khiem palace which used to be the Emperor’s resting place. But now this is worshiping Tu Duc Emperor’s mother.
Minh Khiem palace is one of the ancient theatres in Vietnam which was constructed in 1865. The Emperor often watched plays, musical performances in this palace. What stands out most is the design of the ceiling in Minh Khiem palace with the symbols of sun, moon, stars, and colorful clouds made of copper coated mirrors. Because of the reflective mirrors, the light becomes blink and vivid when the stage turns on the light.
Move to the burial area, The first monument is Salutation courtyard with statues of civil and military mandarins, horses, and elephants on two sides.
Stele house behind with a large stone stele to record life, career of Tu Duc Emperor. This is the largest stone stele in Vietnam which has values about art, architecture, history, literature, and so on. Tu Duc Emperor wrote the content in this stone stele by himself and named “Khiem Cung Ky”.
There are two pillars on two sides of Stele house which symbolize two torches leading the way to the Emperor’s soul to the afterlife.
3. How to travel to Tu Duc Royal tomb
Tu Duc tomb is located at Duong Xuan village, Thuy Xuan ward, Hue city. About 6 km from the center of Hue city.
If you depart from Dien Bien Phu street, you turn right at the end of the street, and then go straight until you see Tu Duc tomb.
Visitors can easily get to Tu Duc tomb by private car, motorbike, taxi or bus. In addition, you can book lady bikers from I Love Hue tour which is a community tour to support female students practicing English.