Minh Mang tomb is far about 12 kilometers from Hue, on the Cam Ke mount and on the west bank of the Huong River. The construction began in September 1840. While the tomb had been building, Minh Mang was sick and passed away in January 1841. King Thieu Tri continued completing the tomb according to his father’s plans. And it was accomplished in 1843.
Minh Mang tomb reaches the standard architectural complex with 40 constructions such as: palaces, temples, pavilions…. The tomb is divided into three main parts.
Dai Hong Mon is the main entrance to access the tomb with 24 heaving roofs covered with beautiful decorations. This gate only opens for King and had been tightly closed until now. Tourists can enter at Ta Hong Mon and Huu Hong Mon.
Bi Dinh is located behind Dai Hong Mon with its two rows of mandarins, elephants and horses’ statues. Bi Dinh is on the Phung Than Mountain.
The Salutation court is divided into: Hien Duc Mon gate, Sung An temple, Huu Phoi Dien, Huu Tung Phong . The king often worshiped in Sung An temple, Hoang Trach Mon leads to the Minh Lau with two stories and eight roofs. Behind Minh Lau are two flower gardens designed as the character “Longevity”.
Tourists must climb 33 stone steps to reach the tomb. In addition, visitors can see the poems in the stele pavilion, Hien Duc gate, Sung An temple and Minh pavilion of Vietnam’s early 19th century. Coming to Hue, visitors will have unique impression in Minh Mang tomb about ancient architecture and solemn space.
The constructions are distributed into three main parallel axis of which Than Dao path is the centre.
The temple area:
The Salutation Court is divided into four steps – The Hien Duc Mon (gate) leads to the worship place. In the centre is Sung An Temple surrounded by Ta, Huu Phoi Dien (Left, Right Temples) in the front and Ta, Huu Tung Phong (Left, Right Rooms) in the back. The Emperor and Queen Ta Thien Nhan are worshipped in Sung An Temple. Then, Hoang Trach Mon (gate) leads to the Bright Pavilion (Minh Lau), built on Tam Tai Mount. It is a square pavilion with two storeys and eight roofs. On both sides of Minh Lau, two obelisks stand on the hills. In the back of Minh Lau are two flower gardens designed as the character “Longevity”.
The tomb (Buu Thanh):
Tan Nguyet (New Moon) crescent Lake embraces the circular Buu Thanh (The wall surrounding the grave). There are three bridges on Tan Nguyet Lake. Visitors have to climb 33 Thanh stone steps to reach the sepulchre of the Emperor.
Besides nearly 60 word boxes of carved poems in the Stele Pavilion, Hien Duc gate, Sung An Temple, and Minh Pavilion are also remarkable and constitute an anthology of chosen poems of Vietnam’s early 19th century.
Visiting Minh Mang’s tomb, one is impressed by the majesty and symmetry of the architectural constructions.