Tu Duc tomb is situated in a valley in Duong Xuan Thuong village. It is one of the most beautiful tombs of royal architecture of the Nguyen Dynasty. The tomb is far about 8 kilometers form the Hue and lies near the pine forest. It was built in December 1864 and accomplished in 1867. The surrounding wall inside the tomb has 12 hectares width and interior tomb has nearly 50 constructions with various levels. All constructions have the word ‘Khiem’ in their name. Tu Duc tomb is divided into two parts.
The temple area:
Entering Vu Khiem entrance, there is Luu Khiem lake. On the lake are Xung Khiem Pavilion and Du Khiem Pavilion where the Emperor used to come to admire flowers, compose poems, read books, etc.
Then, three Thanh stone steps to Khiem Cung gate lead to Hoa Khiem Palace, which used to be the Emperor’s working place, and is now the altar devoted to the Emperor and the Queen. On both sides are Phap Khiem House and Le Khiem House for the military and civil mandarins.
Behind Hoa Khiem Palace is Luong Khiem Palace, which was also the Emperor’s resting place, and was later used to worship Mrs. Tu Du (Tu Duc’s Mother). On the right of Luong Khiem Palace stand On Khiem Palace, where the royal utensils are kept. On the left of Luong Khiem Palace is Minh Khiem theatre. Then, comes Chi Khiem, the altar to worship the Emperor’s wives, Tri Khiem Palace and Y Khiem Palace were the accommodations of the Emperor’s concubines.
The tomb area:
On the left of the temple is the necropolis itself slopping upward with the Honour Courtyard, the Stele Pavilion, and the seplucre. Rightbehind Bai Dinh (Honour ltuduc2.gif (13241 bytes)Courtyard), with two rows of magnificent military and civil mandarins, is Bi Dinh (Stele Pavilion) with the biggest stone stele in Vietnam. It is inscribed with Khiem Cung narrative, composed by the Emperor himself, writing about his life and imperial cause as well as his misadventures and diseases, etc. On the hill, opposite the semi-circular Tieu Khiem Tri lake, is the Buu Thanh brick wall, in the middle is a stone house, where the Emperor was buried.
Tu Duc’s tomb is not only one of the most beautiful works of the Nguyen dynasty, but it is also a romantic scenery of mounts and lakes.