Royal tombs are considered significant in Hue and while there are only seven that we know of right now, there could be more buried under the everchanging landscape. Since you will not want to excavate the entire city during your visit, you may want to focus on the seven royal tombs Hue. Three of them are considered more popular than the other four, but they all hold special meaning to those who have grown up in Vietnam.
7 Royal Tombs Hue
1. Minh Mang
This is one of the most popular royal tombs Hue and there are forty different structures within this entire tomb complex. Along the central path, you will find a salutation court, the stele pavilion, and of course, Emperor Minh Mang’s tomb. The Emperor chose this spot for his tomb, but he was only alive for the beginning of the construction process. He died shortly after the work started.
2. Tu Duc
Tu Duc spent thirty-five years reigning over this region in Vietnam, while cursing over the length of his life. He had smallpox as a child and that may have led him to being unable to have children of his own. This led Tu Duc to write his own stele, since he didn’t have a son of his own to write it after his death. You will want to see how his stele is different from the ones on all the other royal tombs in Hue, so pay close attention to each one.
3. Khai Dinh
Emperor Khai Dinh was not always popular, which is why it is surprising that more people find their way to his tomb over some of the other royal tombs Hue. It took eleven years to finish constructing this royal tomb Hue, despite the fact the Emperor taxed the peasants in order to finance the entire construction process. This tomb looks more like a monument complete with a triple gate made from wrought iron. While a lot of the material used was concrete, you will quickly discover the blending of design elements from both western and eastern parts of the world. Broken glass and porcelain were used to create some of those elements, and you will be intrigued as to how it was completed.
4. Dong Khanh
Out of all the royal tombs Hue, the Dong Khanh royal tomb is the smallest of them all. Dong Khanh had originally created this memorial temple in honor of his father, but upon his death, his successor, Thanh Thai had this temple changed over to Dong Khanh’s tomb. This royal tomb Hue has many different French influences, starting with the stained-glass windows and continuing with the terra cotta reliefs.
5. Duc Duc, Thanh Thai, and Duy Tan
You know something had to have gone wrong during an Emperor’s reign when they need to share a tomb in the afterlife. While Emperor Duc Duc had a fairly good reign, Thanh Thai and Duy Tan were not popular amongst the French colonial authorities. Therefore, they couldn’t erect their own royal tombs before their death and the future Emperors wouldn’t allow it either. Therefore, they share a tomb with Emperor Duc Duc. Inside the Long An Temple, there are three different altars for paying your respects to these Emperors.
6. Gia Long
Gia Long was the very first Nguyen Emperor, but he wasn’t very popular during his reign. Since the Vietnamese people do not usually have anything good to say about this Emperor, it is not surprising that his tomb has not been restored since it was damaged during the war. While it is not that easy to reach this tomb, and there is not as much beauty to look at when you arrive, it is important to note that many future tombs were modeled after this one.
7. Thieu Tri
Thieu Tri was the son of Minh Mang, as well as the father of Tu Duc. Thieu Tri didn’t reign this area for too long before his death, which meant his royal tomb was nowhere near complete when he died. While this royal tomb is basic compared to the ones of his relatives, the covered bridge that looks like the infamous bridge in Hoi An is the best feature. Since this royal tomb was not completed yet upon his death, Thieu Tri was buried at the Long An Temple until he could be interred within his personal tomb.
These are the seven royal tombs Hue that you must try to see when you are vacationing in Hue City. While you can skip over a couple of them if you are short on time, it is really best to see all the similarities and differences between them all. In fact, by doing this, you may learn more about each Emperor that ruled this area and discover how the locals feel about each one all these years later.