Hưng Miếu (also known as Hưng Tổ Miếu) is used to worship Lord Nguyễn Phúc Côn and his wife Nguyễn Thị Hoàn. They are the parents of Emperor Gia Long. Although the temple was almost completely destroyed during the war, its rebuilt construction is still worth a visit of yours in Hue Imperial City.
The history of Hưng Tổ Miếu
Under Gia Long Rule
It is a part of Huế Citadel and situated in the same compound as Thế Tổ Miếu. Nguyễn Phúc Luân and his wife who being worshiped in here had a struggling history.
Originally, Nguyễn Phúc Luân, who should have been the next Lord of Dang Trong. However, during his period appeared a Regent named Trương Phúc Loan. He played a trap that forced Nguyen Phuc Luan to marry his own blood cousin then purposely accused him of violating Nguyen law. Therefore, Luân was confined to prison and later died in his private home.
The ill-fated man died at the age of 32 leaving his 6 sons and 4 daughters behind. Among them is Nguyen Phuc Anh, later Emperor Gia Long. He was well-known as the founding father of the Nguyen Dynasty later.
In 1802, after gaining power from Tay Son Era, Gia Long Emperor found his father’s remained even though it was exhumed completely. The Hưng Tổ Miếu construction started from there and took only four months (from April to August in the year of 1804) on the site of the present Thế Tổ Miếu.
He named it Hoàng Khảo Temple (meaning temple to worship Emperor father).
During Minh Mạng
In 1821, Minh Mang Emperor moved Hoàng Khảo Temple 50m north to build Thế Tổ Temple. The relocation process took one month to finish. After completion, he changed the name of the temple to the Hưng Tổ Miếu.
Under Bảo Đại rule
Unfortunately, in February 1947 during the Siege of Hue, Hưng Tổ Miếu was burned down completely with other temples in the Forbidden City. It was such a big loss of Hue that one thought the city could not revive.
In 1950, Bao Dai purchased an old temple knows as the An Khánh Vương Temple ( previously dedicated to the worship of Nguyễn Phúc Quang) to rebuild the temple for Gia Long’s parents later. Finally, in 1951, Madame Đoàn Huy Hoàng (mother of Emperor Bao Dai) bought Kim Long temple to rebuild the old platform of Hưng Tổ Miếu.
Finally, the building renovation started again in 1995 with special red and gold lacquer.
The architecture of Hưng Tổ Miếu
Due to its up and down history above, Hưng Tổ Miếu relies heavily on the style of An Khánh Vương temple. Because its area was smaller than An Khánh Vương temple, the roof had to be modified on both sides. Furthermore, the two rows of pillars at the rear relocated to fit the original foundation.
When approaching this unique temple in Hue Imperial City, you will enter an elaborate three-gate entrance into a rectangular garden paved with the Bát Tràng tiles.
In parallel to the column of the patio is a row of porcelain pots. On the right of the courtyard, there is an incense burner for burning the paper.
The Hưng Tổ Temple
The temple is a Nhà Rường followed the Nguyen Imperial Style. You will see the typical yellow yin-yang tiles here in many worship temples. Additionally, the temple has nine rows of columns from the front to the back and eight columns from left to right.
In particular, all of the trusses are decorated very sophisticatedly. The small columns, but the two ends are clawed and then hatched into lotus-shaped. Between the two columns, there are wood frames that are sculpted Kỹ Hà shape with different dimensions.
The main temple is located in the center of a double building. The front section of the temple incorporates five compartments and two single wings. The rear section has three compartments and two double wings.
Moreover, the two main temples have a short wall separated, in the middle of the two-door wall: Dục Khánh (east), Chương Khánh (west).
The interior design
Inside the temple where worship ancestral tablets of the Hưng Tổ Hiếu Khang Emperor and Empress.
The more you discover Hưng Tổ Miếu, the more you feel impressed with the unique architecture of the temple. The red-lacquered interior is exquisitely decorated with Nhất Thi Nhất Họa (poem attached to a picture) panels.
The lower side of the facade is decorated with U-shaped wood. In the middle of each surface is the image of one of the eight weapons. In front of the temple, there is a row including six columns standing on the surface of the concrete paver stone. At the top of the column is a lotus-shaped with the console.
What else you can see around Hưng Tổ Miếu?
If you have time to walk on the left-right of the Hưng Tổ Miếu. On the left side of the Hưng Tổ Miếu area “Thần Khố” (Storage Room) and “Thần Trù” (Kitchen). The ceremony of Hưng Tổ Miếu is held five times a year as Thái Miếu and Thế Miếu.
Surrounding the campus is a high brick wall with four symmetrical door couplings: Chương Khánh, Dục Khánh, Trí Tướng, and Ứng Tường.
On the left side of the campus, there is still two stone stele which was built in 1804. The stone stele was engraved Ngự Chế essay of Minh Mạng Emperor (the history of construction Hưng Tổ Miếu and Thế Miếu).
From the area of the Thần Khố and Thần Trù where has a gate outside to connect with Thế Miếu.
Finally, exit the Hưng Tổ Miếu compound via its northern gate, you will see the road leading from the Purple Forbidden City to the West gate of the Imperial City.
When visiting Hue Imperial City, Hưng Tổ Miếu is a beautiful thing to see in Hue. Its location might be hard to find thus many visitors skip this place. You can book a tour guide at the ticket booth for a 150,000 VND/ group with a request to visit this place. However, their English competence is not guaranteed.
Another great option for you is to join a Hue Imperial City Walking Tour run by Bee Bee Travel. They are expert in telling you stories of Nguyen and compelling a fun and interesting introduction in the Hue Citadel. You can visit their site here.