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Gia Long Tomb, the solemn resting place of Nguyen Dynasty’s first Emperor

Malie Nguyen Malie Nguyen


August 16, 2020 | 08:03

Despite being situated the farthest from the center of imperial city of Hue, Gia Long Tomb, which is the resting place of the first emperor of the Nguyen Feudal Dynasty boasts the idyllic atmosphere and solemn architectures.

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Photo: Nhan Dan

Emperor Gia Long (taboo name of Nguyen Phuc Anh) was born in 1762. He founded the Nguyen Dynasty – the last in the history of Vietnamese feudalism. He was enthroned in 1802 and ruled over the country until he passed away in 1820. Under the reign of King Gia Long, the national name of Vietnam was officially used in 1804.

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Photo: Nhan Dan

Gia Long Tomb, also known as Thien Tho Tomb, was built between 1814 and 1820. This is a complex of many tombs of King Gia Long’s Royal family. The tomb is currently located in the pristine mountain in Huong Long commune, Huong Tra town, Thua Thien Hue province. The whole area includes 42 large and small mountains, in which Dai Thien Tho is the largest one, according to Nhan Dan Newspaper.

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Photo: Nhan Dan

Two sides of the road leading to Gia Long Tomb are covered by vast pine forests. Previously, the only means of transport to this place was by waterways. Today, visitors can reach here by pontoon bridge spanning Ta Trach River and the big road through Tuan bridge and Minh Mang Tomb.

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Two giant majestic pillars outside the tomb Photo: Nhan Dan
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Photo: Nhan Dan

King Gia Long’s tomb is located on a flat hill, with Dai Thien Tho Mountain ahead, seven others behind, and 14 others on each side called "Ta Thanh Long - Huu Bach Ho".

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Photo: Nhan Dan

In the center lies two tombs of King Gia Long and Queen Thua Thien Cao which reflecting the fact that they were always shoulder-to-shoulder during their life.

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Photo: Nhan Dan

Two tombs are surrounded by the solid wall, called “Buu Thanh”. There are seven sacrifice yards leading to the wall.

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Photo: Nhan Dan

The bronze gate of “Buu Thanh” leads into the resting place of the King and Queen. It is only opened on Tet (Lunar New Year) and the anniversaries of their deaths.

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Photo: Nhan Dan
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Photo: Nhan Dan

Underneath the sacrifice yards is the courtyard with two rows of stone statues of mandarins along the two sides as well as war elephants and horses.

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Bi Dinh, located in the left of the tombs is where records the merits of contributors. Photo: Nhan Dan
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The stele in Bi Dinh was built by King Minh Mang, the son of Emperor Gia Long to honor his father.

Photo: Nhan Dan

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Photo: Nhan Dan

Bi Dinh roof is covered by glazed tiles, main materials to build many architectures under the Nguyen Dynasty.

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Photo: Nhan Dan

Minh Thanh Palace is situated to the right of Gia Long Tomb, where worships the emperor and his first wife, Queen Thua Thien Cao.

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The three steps leading to the worshipping temple are made up of four majestic stone dragons.

Photo: Nhan Dan

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Photo: Nhan Dan

Minh Thanh Palace preserves many memorabilia of Emperor Gia Long such as hats, belts, and saddles, added Nhan Dan Newspaper.

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Photo: Nhan Dan

Around Gia Long Tomb is a complex of many tombs of the King's Royal family, in which includes Thien Tho Huu Tomb, the resting place of King Gia Long’s second wife - Queen Thuan Thien Cao.

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Photo: Nhan Dan

Queen Thuan Thien Cao's real name was Tran Thi Dang. She and Queen Thien Cao were always side by side King Gia Long since the beginning of his career. She gave birth to King Minh Mang, the second Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty.

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The lotus lagoon in front of the gate of Thien Tho Huu Tomb. Photo: Nhan Dan
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Photo: Nhan Dan

Summer is the most ideal time to visit Gia Long Tomb. The sunset adds to its already majestic and magnificent beauty.

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Photo: Nhan Dan
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The vista of Gia Thanh Palace, where worships King Minh Mang’s mother. Photo: Nhan Dan
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Malie Nguyen