Hue Royal Tombs
During the era of 1802-1945, Vietnam was ruled by the Nguyen Dynasty. This was Vietnam’s last ruling Royal family. There were in all 13 kings in different times. As a mark of tradition the rulers built tombs of their own name around the palace. These tombs are famously known as the Royal Tombs of Hue. Though there were 13 rulers but only seven tombs are found in the site. Due to various only seven of the rulers had tombs built after their name. These tombs form the architectural wonder of Hue and definitely a reason to visit the place.
The seven imperial tombs of Hue are built on a hilly region on the southwestern front of the Citadel, another famous monument of Hue. The kings having their presence in the form of the tombs are Gia Long, Minh Mang, Thieu Tri, Tu Duc, Duc Duc, Dong Khanh and Khai Dinh. These tombs were constructed during their respective reigns and were named after them too. These were very aesthetically built monuments showcasing the taste of the respective rulers.
The tombs showcase the statute of the kings and are built in a way which perfectly synchronizes with the harmony that strings all the monuments in the same tune. The array of tombs presents a picture perfect of poetic setting in the lap of nature. The components which were incorporated in every of the constructions were: : walls, triple gate (Tam Quan Gate), Salutation Court, Stele House, temples, lakes and ponds, pavilions, gardens, and finally the tomb.
In the year 1957, the Royal Tombs of Hue were enlisted as World’s Wonders. Unfortunately most of the artifacts are now stolen by the French and the crooks. It is really unfortunate for Hue for losing one of its wonders. Still today Hue has retained its glory and has been regarded as “a masterpiece of urban poetry” by Mr. Amadou-Mahtar-M’Bow, the Director General of UNESCO in 1991.
Some of the tombs of the rulers are:
The most majestic is that of Emperor Minh Mang, a staunch follower of Confucianism with many wives, concubines and a small army of children. Planned by the Emperor and built shortly after his death, it is opulent and exotic, and laid out in formal Chinese style.
With the possible exception of Khai Dinh’s monument, no other tomb approaches the level of unity of the elements of Minh Mang’s tomb. Its layout and symmetry draws the eye naturally towards the main features, and the architectural balance blends the elements into a pleasing whole.
The tomb of Tu Duc, the ‘poet Emperor’, is set in an elegant garden with a magnificent lake and pavilion complex. The centrepiece of the tomb is simplicity itself despite the lavish opulence of his reign (it’s really just a monument – he was buried elsewhere to thwart grave robbers).
Despite his cultural pursuits and desire to achieve a humble lifestyle, it was under Tu Duc that the Nguyen court reached its zenith of lavish opulence. Tu Duc withdrew into court life, seemingly indifferent to the people he ruled, and the brutal treatment of the three thousand artisans and workers pressed into service to build his tomb.
In complete contrast to Emperor Tu Duc’s stylish creation, the tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh is appears at first to be an unprepossessing concrete construction. Its interest lies within in an uneasy combination of Vietnamese and European features and the use of fragments of ceramics and glass for decoration.
Nevertheless, Khai Dinh’s tomb is of great interest as an architectural watershed, the cusp between the influences of a Chinese past and a Western oriented future. The lavish embellishments inside the tomb come as a shock after the grimy and rather sombre façade and courtyard. A golden effigy of the Emperor seated on his throne under a magnificent cement canopy extravagantly decorated with ceramic fragments could be regarded as a masterpiece.
The UNESCO Council appraised Vietnamese royal music in the following terms: “Vietnamese royal music represents an elegant and refined music. It deals with the music performed in the imperial courts and on different anniversaries, religious festivals, and on such particular occasions. Of the different categories developed in Vietnam, only the royal music was national.”
Nha nhac (Vietnamese royal music) and its principles came to Vietnam under the Ho Dynasty (1400-1407). The Ho Dynasty, however, only existed for a short time, so nha nhac rapidly fell into oblivion. In 1427, Le Loi defeated the Chinese Ming invaders and liberated the country. However, nha nhac only began to develop in the reign of King Le Thanh Tong (1460-1497) and reached its peak under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945).
Nha nhac is genre of scholarly music. It attracted the participation of many talented songwriters and musicians, with numerous traditional musical instruments.
From now on, nha nhac will have opportunities to preserve, develop and popularize to the public, inside and outside the country.
Cham Museum In Danang
The Cham People were an indigenous race who inhabited in the coastal regions in mostly central Vietnam way back in 192 BC. The tribe was heavily influenced by Indian culture, religion and even the language. The Cham Museum in Danang is located in Vietnam’s 4th largest city at the point where two streets of Trung Nu Vuong and Bach Dang intersect. The Cham Museum in Danang has the largest and the most voluminous collection of Cham art in the world. This is truly a unique feat because the Cham civilization were later replaced by other prominent ones; and those of the Cham who remained, later converted to Islam.
The location of the Cham Museum in Danang is very apt; because the Danang region was the capital of the civilization. This is clearly evident in the architectural style of the museum. While building the museum in 1915, the French Far-East Research Center in Vietnam, who were the financial sponsors, kept the Cham architectural patterns in mind. So the museum is adorned with thin, gentle and linear patterns. These patterns are particularly special because they symbolically represent the dominance of Matriarchy. Among the exhibits in the Cham Museum in Danang, are some 300 carvings and statues crafted out of different materials including terracotta. Once they formed a part of the Cham temples and towers. Among these statues are also animal’s figures as there are humans.
Boat trip along the Thu Bon River
Hoi An was a major Asian trading port in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and its architecture and relaxed lifestyle have changed little over the years. Take a walking tour of the HOI AN & BOAT TRIP: Thubon River in Hoian ancient town centre to visit the Chinese Assembly Halls, the Japanese Covered Bridge, Phuc Kien Pagoda and Tan Ky House.
In the afternoon: taking a boat trip on the Thu Bon river and stop to visit the traditional villages: ceramic village, carpentry village). Stay overnight in Hoi An
Cycling from Danang city to Cua Dai beach
The tour brings you to Danang and Hoi An, two of the most visited tourist areas in Vietnam. Apart from exploring the fascinating past of Vietnam, you will also meet many locals and learn about their culture and life (you will meet a local kite maker who is keeping traditional craftmanship alive).
Danang offers visitors to explore Hai Van Pass, the sacred Marble Mountains, its serene beaches, ritzy bars and local restaurants that are sure to leave your taste buds satisfied. Visit the world-famous Cham Museum and be amazed by its ancient sculptures and artefacts. With its pleasant climate all year round and within close proximity to Hoi An, Danang is the perfect place to soak up the fusion of Vietnam’s past and present.
Located 4 km to the east of Hoi An old town, the beach of Cua Dai is about 3 km long, 1 km of which has lovely white sand, blue sea, clear, sunshine, cool water and sloping sea floor. It is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Central Vietnam. Along the beach is a stretch of willow trees. From very early in the morning the fishing boats set out while early swimmers from town come to the beach to enjoy the sea.
You can easily reach the Cua Dai beach by bicycle or motorbike (most of the hotels rent them).
This article written by Lanh Nguyen from Vietnam Heritage Travel
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