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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

King Gia Long’s Mausoleum: the tomb of the first emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty

By Hieu Truong

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THUA THIEN-HUE – The mausoleum of King Gia Long (1762-1820), also called Thien Tho Mausoleum, some 20 kilometers from the heart of the imperial Hue City, is the tomb complex of the first king and founder of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), which was also the last feudal dynasty in Vietnam. The current country name of Vietnam was officially used in this dynasty and has been since retained.

The mausoleum complex incorporates many tombs and temples of King Gia Long, his queens and their royal family members

Built between 1814 and 1820, Gia Long mausoleum complex encompasses a multitude of temples and tombs of the king and his royal family members. The mausoleum expands on an area marked by more than 40 mountains and hills whose layout and architect are in concordance with the surrounding natural scenery, creating beautiful views, which are majestic, imposing and poetic.

This photo shows the two giant pillars of the mausoleum and the mountainous terrain on the background

The complex can be divided into three main parts, excluding other structures. They are the tombs of the king and his first queen, Minh Thanh Temple (“Minh Thanh” means “brilliantly perfection”) where the king and his first queen are worshiped, and Bi Dinh where a giant stone stele is preserved.

The path to the mausoleum complex

One thing that makes Gia Long mausoleum different from its counterparts of the Nguyen Dynasty is that it is the only place where the tombs of the king and his queen are put in parallel. The two stone tombs lie together with the king’s tomb on the left and the queen’s on the right.

A flycam photo shows the tomb of the king

Aerial views of Gia Long mausoleum may expose its panoramic layout in which architecture is in harmony with nature. It seems that the king had contemplated much about the location where he and his queen would rest forever together.

 

In this photo, the pair of two giant pillars can be seen from the king’s and his queen’s tombs

The king’s and his first queen’s tombs photographed from above

This bronze gate of the tombs is totally opened only several times a year

The tombs of King Gia Long (on the left) and his first queen

An aerial view of the king’s second queen’s tomb

Gia Thanh Temple, which worships the mother of King Minh Mang, a son of King Gia Long

An aerial view of Minh Thanh Temple (on the left) adjacent to the tombs of King Gia Long and his first queen

The entrance to Minh Thanh Temple where King Gia Long and his first queen are worshiped

Minh Thanh Temple, viewed outside in

The gate to Minh Thanh Temple, viewed from inside the temple

Patterns of some roof tiles inside Minh Thanh Temple

A view inside Minh Thanh Temple

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