According to Confucianism, Mandarin, elephants and horses statues were to guard the resting place for the Nguyen Emperors.
Same rule applied for Minh Mang Mausoleum…
Minh Mang Tomb or known as “Hieu Tomb” is about 12 km south of Hue City center in Huong Tho Commune, Huong Tra District, on the west bank of Perfume River.
The mausoleum is the last resting place of the second emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, Emperor Minh Mang and, in fact, is the largest royal tomb of Hue…
Especially, it’s also one of the most mystical tombs of Nguyen Dynasty that combines between landscape and architecture buildings.
While exploring Minh Mang Mausoleum, many people will get astonished to find a place of art and poem.
Complex history of Minh Mang Tomb
Under Minh Mang reign
In 1820, Gia Long Emperor passed away. His fourth son, Nguyen Phuc Dam, succeeded him and known as Minh Mang. Twenty years on the throne, Minh Mang Emperor brought Dai Nam (the former name of Vietnam) and the Nguyen royal family a strong and prosperous future.
Reading more of Minh Mang Emperor, the conquered of Mekong Delta will make you excited.
After seven years on the throne, Minh Mang had his mandarins search for land suitable for building his tomb. The geological mandarin, Le Van Duc, chose a site in the Cam Khe mountain area.
However, it took nearly 14 years of caution choosing before Emperor Minh Mang decided to built his tomb in this location. He also renamed the mountain as Hieu Son instead of Cam Khe, and named his tomb as Hieu Tomb.
In April 1840, the construction of the tomb started. One month later, when the work was just incomplete, Minh Mang became ill and passed away suddenly in January 1841.
Under Thieu Tri reign
Only one month after succeeding to the throne, in 1841, Thieu Tri undertook the construction, which based on his father’s drawings.
In August 1841, Minh Mang’s body was buried in Buu Thanh, although the construction of the tomb still continued until 1843.
Thanks to human labour and creative minds, this desert mountain area became a solemn site of tomb and temple. The entire design and ambiance of the tomb reflects the depth of the Minh Mang Emperor’s thought making it the top 4 Hue attractions for history lovers.
What to explore at Minh Mang Tomb?
Coming to Hue, visitors will have unique impression in Minh Mang tomb. Many people said that it’s a perfect combination of manmade and natural beauty of Hue, where architecture fits harmoniously into the surrounding landscape.
Approaching Minh Mạng Tomb, Dai Hong Mon, the main entry gate to the tomb-the typical gate of Nguyen Dynasty. People opened it only once to bring the Emperor’s coffin into the tomb and closed it since then.
Thus, all the visitors have to use the Ta Hong Mon (Left Gate) or Huu Hong Mon (Right Gate).
Behind Dai Hong Mon you will see Bai Dinh salutation yard with Bat Trang bricks and two lines of carved stone mandarins, elephants and horses.
Keep walking to the end of the yard you will notice on the Bi Dinh (Stele house), which locates on Phung Than Son mountain. Inside, there was a memorial stone stele inscribed with the deceased Emperor’s biography and merits by his successor, Thieu Tri Emperor.
Throughoutly, you will enter a courtyard which divided into four steps in order that people feel the generosity of the man.
To enter the Sung An Temple, you must come over Hien Duc gate, the main gate of the temple area. It locates within a square wall that symbolizes the earth, in accordance with the concept of circular heaven and square earth.
In the middle is Sung An temple with its surroundings of Ta Huu Phoi Dien (front left and right temples) and Ta Huu Tung Phong (back left and right houses) functioning as satellites.
The inside area of the palace is where worshiping the Emperor and the Queen. Finally, the Hoang Trach gate is the last structure of the temple area.
All the sacred structures seem to stop at the temple area. From here a new unbounded world of leisure and freedom opens out. Seventeen “Thanh” stone steps take visitors to green trees set against an open sky and to the perfume of wild flowers.
Minh Mang Burial Area
Crossing over Trung Minh lake visitors will be lead to Minh Lau pavilion. Minh Lau means bright pavilion and there the Emperor often went to enjoy a pleasant breeze and moon nights. This square pavilion with two storeys and eight roofs is a representation of Eastern philosophy.
Further more, the two obelisks standing on Binh Son and Thanh Son hills behind Minh Lau show that the emperor did well in both virtues and merits before leaving this world for eternity. Continue walking pass Minh Lau you will blow away by two flower gardens designed as the character “Longevity”.
Tan Nguyet lake – half-moon shaped lake embraces Buu Thanh and provides an image of an endless world. The lake functions as the Yin element protecting the Yang one, Buu Thanh, a symbol of the sun. The composition of this structure shows the ancient concept of the evolution of all things.
Passing by Thong Minh Chinh Truc bridge across Tan Nguyet lake, visitors have to climb 33 Thanh stone steps to reach the Emperor’s tomb, which located on the center of Khai Trach mountain surrounded by circular Buu Thanh wall.
This circle is within other symbolic circle of Tan Nguyet lake. The La Thanh surrounding wall aims to tell that Minh Mang Emperor desired to be the holder of the earth and universe.
On both sides of the tomb’s main axis. Subsequently, many sub-structures are in symmetrical pairs. Unfortunately, these structures fell down due to time and weather.
This “poetic museum” shows Vietnam in the early 19th century in a setting which displays the knowledge, understanding, beliefs and wishes of contemporary people.
Visiting this place, visitors have more opportunities to know more about the art of the mausoleum, as well as the respectable mausoleum construction of the ancients.
How to get to Minh Mang Tomb?
Location: See Minh Mang Tomb Map is here
Minh Mang tomb is about 18 kilometers to the southwest of the Hue center. However, it is the third-most visited Hue Imperial Tomb by visitors.
We’d like to give you some best ways to visit Hue Royal Tombs to make the most of your time in Hue.
In fact, there are a lot of vehicles for visitors to get Minh Mang Tomb, such as motorbikes, bikes, cars, taxis…
From Hue center
- Taxi to Minh Mang tomb: About 10$. Make sure that you tell driver wait for you. It’s difficult to seek taxis there because it’s far from the city center. A few taxi firms we highly recommend like Taxi Thanh Cong, Taxi Mai Linh.
- Bicycle: About 3$/per day. Traffic around Hue can be busy, especially on the Hue bridges crossing the river, so take care when cycling.
- Motorbike: From 5$ to 10$ per day. Rental motorbike is also very popular in Hue City. Hence, you have to make sure about transport for your journey.
- Private car: Contact Hue Car Service by Bee Bee Travel for the best rate.
From Chan May port
Minh Mang tomb is about 64 kilometers from Chan May Harbor. The only way to get to Minh Mang from Chan May is by arranged private Chan May Port to Hue Excursion.
From Tien Sa Port
Minh Mang mausoleum is about 95 kilometers from Tien Sa. Best way to experience this special Hue tomb is to book Tien Sa port to Hue excursion.
Ming Mang tomb entrance fee
- 100,000 VND / person / adult
- 20,000 VND / person / child
Easily spotted outside the gate, there are ticket selling points and motorbikes.
Minh Mang opening hours
06:30 am – 05:30 pm daily
To sum up, there are many ways for you to get around in Hue but the best choices for you to visit Nguyen emperor’s mausoleums in Hue city is hiring Hue private car or joining a tour.
In particular, Hue Full Day City Tour or the Nguyen Emperor Tombs Tour are a perfect options for you and your family. In fact, you will be fully exposed to see these outstanding Hue royal tomb during your short time in Hue.
Many of this information is used from Minh Mang tomb wikipedia.