Tomb of Tu Duc


History

Emperor Tu Duc enjoyed the longest reign of any monarch of the Nguyen dynasty, ruling from 1848-83. Although he had over a hundred wives and concubines, he was unable to father a son (possibly he became sterile after contracting smallpox). Thus, it fell to him to write his own epitaph on the deeds of his reign. He felt this was a bad omen, but the epitaph can still be found inscribed on the stele in the pavilion just to the east of the Emperor's tomb. This stele is the largest of its type in Vietnam, and had to be brought here from a quarry over 500 kilometers away--a trip that took four years.

Tu Duc began planning his tomb long before his death in 1883. The major portions of the tomb complex were completed from 1864-67, along with future temple buildings that served as a palatial retreat for Tu Duc and his many wives during his lifetime. Construction of the tomb demanded so much corvee labor and extra taxation that there was an abortive coup against Tu Duc in 1866. This was put down, and for the remainder of his life, Tu Duc continued to use the tomb's palace buildings as his place of residence.

Amenities for the living are unmatched at any other tomb in Vietnam. Here, the Emperor could boat on the lake and hunt small game on the tiny island in the lake's middle. He could recline at Xung Khiem Pavilion and recite or compose poetry in the company of his concubines. After trips on the lake, the boats would moor at Du Khiem Pavilion, from which the Emperor and his entourage could walk directly west into the palace area of the tomb.

After the Emperor's death in 1883 his adopted son Kien Phuc took over as the Nguyen Emperor. Perhaps because he only ruled seven months before dying, a separate tomb was not established for him. Instead, he was laid to rest in a small corner on the grounds of Tu Duc's tomb. Between the tombs of Tu Duc and his son is the tomb of Empress Le Thien Anh, Tu Duc's primary wife.

Interestingly, despite the grandeur of the site and the amount of time Tu Duc spent here, he was actually buried in a different, secret location somewhere in Hue. To keep the secret safe the 200 laborers who buried the king were all beheaded after they returned from the secret route. To this day, the real tomb of Tu Duc remains hidden for future generations to discover.

Tours

Ha Long World Heritage
25% Discount
10
Day
10 DAYS EXPLORE HIGHLIGHT OF NORTH & CENTRE VIETNAM PACKAGE TOUR
Hanoi Halong Hue Hoi An
How to get an adventure North Vietnam tour itinerary 10 days? Let start and get a camera with you to go around from Northwest to Northeast Vietnam to record amazing sceneries. It i...
Price USD $1199 USD $899
10
Day
10 DAYS AUTHENTIC COOKING TOURS IN NORTH & CENTRAL VIETNAM TOUR
Hanoi Halong Hue Hoi An
This tour is rich in culture, history, and beautiful coastlines. From Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, to one of the ‘Wonders of the World’ Halong Bay, then the former Imperial ...
Price USD $530 USD $490
18
Day
18 DAYS VIET NAM & LAOS OVERLAND ODYSSEY
Our most in depth tour of Laos and Vietnam doesn’t miss any of the hotspots that both of these countries have to offer visitors. Beaches, ocean, mountains, deltas, waterfalls, mega...
Price USD $1939 USD $1616
21
Day
21 DAYS STUNNING VIETNAM PACKAGE TOUR
As a fascinating Asian travel destination, Vietnam offers more than just its rich culture and places of interest. It boosts ancient traditions dated back to hundred years and histo...
1
Day
HUE TOUR - NGUYEN DYNASTY’S ANCIENT CITY AND THE PERFUME RIVER AT SUNSET
Hue
Hue was the capital city of the Nguyen lords that took over Vietnam, in 1802. The Nguyen dynasty, that lasted 13 kings and 143 years, and was the last imperial dynasty. The french ...
Price USD $44