Of all roy­al the tombs around Hue Tu Duc Tomb is my favorite. Some build­ings are restored while oth­er areas are in a state of arrest­ed decay keep­ing its ancient atmos­phere. Sit­u­at­ed in the midst of a pine for­est 6 km from the city, it’s a beau­ti­ful and peace­ful place with many ancient struc­tures as well as a lake with a pavil­ion and small island where Tu Duc used to hunt small game.

 

Tu Duc Tomb Pavilion

Tu Duc Tomb Pavil­ion

Designed by Tu Duc him­self, con­struc­tion of the Tomb began in 1864 and was fre­quent­ly used by Tu Duc and his 104 wives and count­less con­cu­bines, as a place of rest and relax­ation. Luu Khiem Lake was hand dug where a stream entered the grounds and the exca­vat­ed earth used to make Tinh Khiem Islet, a small island in the mid­dle of the lake, stocked with rare birds and oth­er ani­mals.

Khiem Tho Tomb, Empress Le Thien Anh

Khiem Tho Tomb, Empress Le Thien Anh

The most expan­sive and beau­ti­ful of all the tombs in Hue, per­fect­ly inte­grat­ed with its nat­ur­al set­ting, with over 50 struc­tures. This came at a high cost, built with forced labor in a feu­dal sys­tem, and required addi­tion­al tax­a­tion for the cit­i­zens of Hue. The con­struc­tion of the tomb and its many build­ings gave rise to a coup but was dis­cov­ered and sup­pressed before it mate­ri­al­ized.

Chi Khiem Temple and Pavilions

The Chi Khiem Tem­ple (On your left as you enter the grounds) is ded­i­cat­ed to Tu Duc’s minor wives and his pre­de­ces­sors.

Chi Khiem Temple

Chi Khiem Tem­ple

 

Chi Khiem Temple, Tu Duc Tomb

Entrance to the Chi Khiem Tem­ple

Behind the Chi Khiem Tem­ple are a series of pavil­ions in the state of dis­re­pair. It’s a per­fect place to spend some time shoot­ing the old crum­bling struc­tures.

Khiem Pavilions, Tu Duc Tomb

Khiem Pavil­ions, Tu Duc Tomb

 

Khiem Pavilions, Tu Duc Tomb

Khiem Pavil­ions, Tu Duc Tomb

 

Residences Temples and Theatre

Fol­low a crum­bling path up some stairs into the for­mer res­i­dences of Tu Duc’s 104 wives and numer­ous con­cu­bines.

Vietnamese Woman in an Ao Dai

Viet­namese Woman in an Ao Dai

These build­ings are now used as tem­ples to Tu Duc and his first wife as well as dis­plays of Tu Duc’s per­son­al belong­ings and infor­ma­tion dis­plays about the emper­or and his reign.

Tu Duc's Thrones

Tu Duc’s Thrones

The larg­er throne on the left was used by Empress Le Thien Anh (Tu Duc was only 153 cm).

Luong Khiem Temple

Luong Khiem Tem­ple

 

Minh Khiem Theatre

"<yoastmark

The Minh Khiem The­atre is the only one built in any of the Roy­al Tombs of Hue and the old­est in-tact the­atre of its kind in all Viet­nam. The the­atre used for operas and shows per­formed by Tu Duc’s wives and con­cu­bines. Today vis­i­tors can dress up in the roy­al cos­tumes and take pic­tures for a fee.

"<yoastmark

 

Tu Duc Tomb

Tu Duc Tomb Mandarins

Tu Duc Tomb Man­darins

Ele­phants, hors­es and short Man­darins (Tu Duc was short and thus the Man­darin stat­ues must be short­er) stand guard before the Stele House(Under Con­struc­tion, May 2018) con­tain­ing his epi­taph and accom­plish­ments dur­ing his reign. It was up to him to write this him­self as he fathered no sons (per­haps due to his infec­tion with small­pox).

The 20-ton stele is the largest in Viet­nam. It took 4 years to trans­port the stele from the quar­ry 500km away.

Entrance gate to Tu Duc Tomb

Entrance gate to Tu Duc Tomb

While most of the rest of the grounds were used by Tu Duc and his many wives and con­cu­bines dur­ing his long reign this sec­tion of the grounds is for the after­life.

Tu Duc Tomb

Tu Duc Tomb

Tu Duc’s Tomb is behind the Stele House, sur­round­ed by ponds and trees (Under con­struc­tion, May 2018).

The “Mod­est” Tomb. Tu Duc open­ly admit­ted that he made mis­takes dur­ing his reign and changed the name of the tomb to “Khiem” means “Mod­est”. You’ll find “Khiem” in all the names of the var­i­ous struc­tures of the tomb.

Tomb of Empress Le Thien Anh

Through the for­est, across a stream, in a beau­ti­ful set­ting is the final rest­ing place of Empress Le Thien Anh, Tu Duc’s first wife, 1828–1902.

Tomb of Empress Le Thien Anh

Khiem Tho Tomb, Tomb of Empress Le Thien Anh

 

Tomb of Empress Le Thien Anh

Khiem Tho Tomb, Tomb of Empress Le Thien Anh

 

Tu Duc’s Adopted Son Kien Phuc

Kien Phuc was adopt­ed by Tu Duc but only end­ed up rul­ing for 7 months before his death. A tem­ple for his wor­ship and his tomb sit along­side Empress Le Thien Anh’s.

Kien Phuc Tomb

Kien Phuc Tomb

Luu Khiem Lake & Grounds

A peace­ful lake with 2 pavil­ions used by Tu Duc to relax and write poet­ry with his wives and con­cu­bines. He also had a small boat he would use to vis­it Tinh Khiem Islet in the mid­dle f the lake (off-lim­its to vis­i­tors).

Tinh Khiem Islet

Tinh Khiem Islet

A small stream runs through the grounds to Luu Khiem Lake with sev­er­al bridges. The whole area is very peace­ful and it’s worth spend­ing some time just enjoy­ing the peace and nature.

 

Stream and Bridge at Tu Duc Tomb

Stream and Bridge at Tu Duc Tomb

 

Thuong Khiem Gate Flowers

Thuong Khiem Gate Flow­ers

 

Getting to Tu Duc Tomb

Admis­sion: 100,000 VND (~$5)
Hours: 8:00 AM — 5:00 PM Dai­ly

The Tomb of TU Duc is eas­i­ly reached on a bicy­cle or motor­cy­cle 5–6 km out­side of Hue. You can also hire a motor­cy­cle taxi (or reg­u­lar taxi) to get there and pick one up when you leave. Use the App Grab which is quite com­mon in Viet­nam (like Uber).

There are signs in Eng­lish with an overview of the dif­fer­ent attrac­tions inside.

Tu Duc Tomb Miniature

Tu Duc Tomb Minia­ture

 

Tu Duc’s Final Tomb

For all the grandeur of the tomb and its grounds, Tu Duc decid­ed to be buried along with his trea­sure in a hid­den loca­tion else­where in Hue. Upon their return, the 200 labor­ers tasked with bury­ing the emper­or were behead­ed, tak­ing their secret to the grave. To this day Tu Ducs final rest­ing place and all his trea­sure have yet to be dis­cov­ered.

 

Tu Duc Tomb

Tu Duc Tomb

 

Tu Duc is gen­er­al­ly con­sid­ered as the last real Emper­or of Viet­nam as he ruled with­out being under French con­trol. Leg­end says he cursed the French with his dying breath.

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