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Ho Chi Minh City
Wednesday, October 5, 2022

An ancient cultural space in HCMC’s downtown

By Nguyen Trung Au

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Besides modern characteristics as the country’s biggest economic hub, HCMC also boasts of ancient historical, cultural and artistic values of the southern region, with the Tomb of Le Van Duyet or the Tomb of the Marshal in Ba Chieu being a typical example.

The relic site, located next to Ba Chieu Market in Binh Thanh District, was built for Marshal Le Van Duyet (1764-1832) and his wife—Do Thi Phan. Marshal Le Van Duyet was a high-ranking mandarin serving under the first two Nguyen emperors—Gia Long and Minh Mang.

The Tomb of the Marshal in Ba Chieu was built based on the design of architect Nguyen Van Tan in 1949 and used to be a symbol of Saigon and the south as a whole, together with Thien Mu Pagoda, which symbolized Hue and the central region, and Dien Huu Pagoda which symbolized Hanoi and the north.

The temple covers 18,500 square meters of land and is surrounded by fences. It has four gates on Le Van Duyet, Phan Dang Luu, Trinh Hoai Duc and Vu Tung streets.

On the last day of the seventh month and the first two days of the eighth month of the lunar year, the death ceremony of Marshal Le Van Duyet is held annually at the temple, attracting many HCMC residents, who pray for peace, health and love. The youth can also learn about the country’s history and a national hero during the ceremony.

A woman in ao dai poses for a photo at the temple
A shrine in the temple. There are two unicorn stone statues in front of the shrine and pictures made of porcelain and glass pieces on the wall of the shrine
The front yard of the main palace of worship of the temple where three large censers are placed. The main palace of worship is decorated with sophisticated and eye-catching patterns and includes the statues of Mr. Sun and Mrs. Moon
Inside the main palace of worship, called Thuong Cong Linh Mieu, which is mainly decorated in red and yellow, is an altar of Marshal Le Van Duyet
Two Dragonhorse (Long ma phu do) bas-reliefs made of pieces of porcelain and glass on the walls of the main palace of worship
The temple features the architecture of the Nguyen Dynasty with images of dragons, unicorns, peacocks, carps and peony flowers
The temple is tidied up carefully
The tombs of Marshal Le Van Duyet and his wife. The tombs look like lying turtles
The relic site has many large trees casting shadows on the yard of the temple, creating a peaceful and fresh atmosphere there
The gravestone of the tombs. In front of them are two golden cranes standing on two turtles, symbolizing the Yin and Yang harmony
The temple has four gates with the main gate being in the south, opening to Vu Tung Street

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