Tomb of Tu Duc - the unique architecture of Vietnamese history

Tomb of Tu Duc - the unique architecture of Vietnamese history

Thua Thien Hue 14.09.2020

This is the first historical relic of Vietnam chosen by Google to digitize on the occasion of World Heritage Day (April 18, 2019). Together with explore the beauty of this cultural heritage through the article below!

Translated by nguyendo

Written by giangdt

Tomb of Tu Duc - the typical architectural complex of Nguyen Dynasty

The tomb of Tu Duc, which is also known as Khiem Tomb, is considered the most beautiful tomb work among the seven tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty. With a particularly diverse and sophisticated architecture, the tomb was built under the reign of Tu Duc King in the form of a complex in a charming landscape, making visitors feel like they are lost in the middle of an ink wash painting.

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The complex of Tu Duc Tomb. Photo:

Tu Duc is known as the king with a “poetic soul” and dreams, so his tomb was built in the terrain surrounded by majestic mountains and rivers, making visitors almost overwhelmed when first seeing his “resting place”. Tomb of Tu Duc, which was recognized as "World Cultural Heritage" in December 1993, was designed in the typical architecture of the Nguyen Dynasty at that time.

An architectural overview of the Tomb of Tu Duc

The complex is located on a 12-hectare site, including 50 different large and small architectures, most of which have the word “Khiem” in the name. The tomb is divided into two main parts: the chamber and tomb area. Specifically, the tomb area is the burial place of the king's body while the chamber area is the palace where the king handled problems and had leisure activities.

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The chamber area - Tomb of Tu Duc. Photo:

Luu Khiem lake is regarded as the second most beautiful lake in Hue city. Previously, Luu Khiem lake was just a small stream quietly flowing in the tomb area, later it was modified into a lake to balance the feng shui. Tinh Khiem island, which is decorated with rockeries and gazebos, is in the middle of the lake with a lot of green trees all year round. On the island, the king planted a lot of flowers and dug small caves to raise rare animals.

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Ho Luu Khiem - The tomb of Tu Duc. Photo:

On the bank of Luu Khiem lake, there are Xung Khiem Ta and Du Khiem Ta, which are two places for the king to sit and enjoy flowers, write poems and read books. Three wooden bridges spanning the lake are named Tuan Khiem, Tien Khiem and Do Khiem respectively. Crossing these three bridges, visitors will arrive at a vast green pine hill accompanied by the sound of wind passing through the trees.

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Khiem Ta and Du Khiem Ta. Photo:

The chamber area is located in the west of the lake. When you come to this area, you will first encounter the Khiem Mon Cung, which is a two-storey building in the form of a gazebo on a high floor.


Khiem Mon Cung - Tomb of Tu Duc. Photo:

From the chamber area, you can follow a winding road leading to the tomb. The first work here is called Bai Dinh with a large tiled courtyard behind with two rows of statues of officials, elephants and horses.

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The statues of the officers in the courtyard. Photo:

Feng shui elements in the tomb

Feng shui is considered as a prerequisite and should be strictly followed in the architecture of an ancient tomb, and Tu Duc Tomb is not an exception as it converges all the elements of “great luck” through the combination of location, mountain, water, river, direction and so on.

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The architectural beauty of Tu Duc Tomb -

which marks the architectural features of the Nguyen Dynasty. Photo:

In addition to the feng shui factor, the harmony of roads in the architecture is also made use of at Khiem Tomb flexibly. It is not difficult for visitors to realize this when there are no straight or angular roads that you would usually find in other architectural works.

Bat Trang road starts from Vu Khiem, going through Khiem Mon Cung and meandering around at the end of the tomb area, leading to the rows of big trees near the tomb of Le Thien Anh Queen.

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The architecture in the shape of the word "Tho" appears everywhere in the tomb of Tu Duc. Photo:

Due to ups and downs of times and wars, many works in the tomb have deteriorated or partially collapsed, but thanks to the restoration and reinforcement, the magnificence of one of the most beautiful tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty has gradually been restored and contributed to a new and unique appearance of the complex of Hue ancient capital today.

If you have not had the opportunity to visit the tomb of Tu Duc, the pride of Vietnam's architecture, hope that through this article, you can somehow imagine some traits of this unique architectural complex and have interesting experiences.