Tomb of Tu Duc

Tu Duc’s Tomb (Khiem Lang) is one of the most beautiful monuments of Nguyen architecture. The talented Poet-Emperor chose for himself a deserving resting place, which matched the taste of a profound learned scholar and the most aimless figure among Nguyen Lords and Emperors. The tomb is set amidst frangipani trees and a grove of pines. Tu Duc designed the exquisitely harmonious tomb, which was constructed between 1864 and 1867, for use both before and after his death.

Emperor Tu Duc was the ruler in a chaotic period. The country was under constant attack by invaders, the on-going conflict of royal rivals endangered his throne, and the Emperor himself suffered from illness, which ultimately resulted in his sterility. Simply put, Emperor Tu Duc was undergoing an extremely intricate situation. To seclude himself from such a severe life, Tu Duc had this tomb built as his second palace for relaxation and for his “unanticipated death”.

As the construction began, Emperor Tu Duc named the complex Van Nien Co, but after the coup plot led by the Doan Huu Trung brothers, the Emperor changed the name to Khiem Cung. Later after his death, it was called Khiem Lang.

Overall, Tu Duc’s Tomb looks like a huge park. The harmonious features of the works can be observed everywhere in the tomb complex. Almost fifty monuments of the two areas - the temple and the graveyard - were named with the word “Khiem”, which means modest.

Khiem Cung Mon leads to the area where the Emperor stayed during his visits to the complex. In the middle lies Hoa Khiem Temple, the working place of the Emperor, and now houses the Emperor and Empress’ funerary tablets. To either side of Hoa Khiem Temple, stands Phap Khiem and Le Khiem Pavilions, which were reserved for the accompanied civil and military mandarins. Behind Hoa Khiem Temple is Luong Khiem Temple, once used as the Emperor’s palace during his visits and later became a worshipping temple dedicated to the Emperor’s Mother - Tu Du. To the right of Luong Khiem Temple is On Khiem Pavilion - a storehouse for royal belongings. To the left of On Khiem Temple stands Minh Khiem Chamber, considered to be the oldest theatre of Vietnam.

The tomb of Tu Duc is among the most beautiful structures of the Nguyen Dynasty.

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