Khai Dinh Tomb
the tomb Emperor Khai Dinh
"This was one of the three tombs we did with our guide. Seven kilometres from Hue. Again steep steps leading up to the tomb and lovely views out over the valley.
The tomb was built for the 12th King of the Nguyen Dynasty. He was not a popular emperor, he actually increased taxes by 30% to pay for his tomb, which was deeply influenced by the French and their style of architecture.
It's very opulent with a lot of ceramic mosaics. "
Following in the footsteps - of most of the predecessors of Emperor Khai Dinh he had already planned his final resting place in advance. When he died in 1925, Khai Dinh was laid to rest in a lavish tomb, complete with a golden statue of himself in a closet.
What distinguishes the Tomb of Khai Dinh of the other royal tombs around Hue is the architectural mix of Chinese, Vietnamese and Gothic elements. There are fierce dragons guarding the stairs, stone elephants and fighters are standing outside. Finally, there is a wrought iron gate at the entrance. Inside at the tomb are some personal belongings and the gifts of the emperor. On the walls are incredibly intricate patterns of ceramic and glass.
After his abdication in 1916, Emperor Khai Dinh chose the slope of Chau Chu Mountain to build his "home in the other world", which is according to the Oriental belief. The tomb is located approximately 7 km from the center of Hue. He started the refurbishment in 1920 and was completed 11 years later by his successor Emperor Bao Dai.
Despite the fact that the tomb of Khai Dinh is the smallest, it's also the latest and the most expensive among others the royal tombs of the Nguyen dynasty. Khai Dinh chose to use modern materials for his tomb, including concrete, slate and wrought iron. Hence the appearance of the tomb is very gray and imposing.
This is in stark contrast to the truly magnificent interiors. It reflects a miraculous Emperor. Ironically, the tomb is less a monument to the emperor himself, but more a monument to its excessive wealth. Khai Dinh was known as a pawn of the colonial French.
So much so that he was mocked because he was employed by the French Government. He instructed his people heavily to finance the construction of this elaborate tomb. He increased the taxes by 30%. So you can hardly say that he was loved by the ordinary people.
The emperor on his trone
At first, the main building has a strong Western feeling, however, the landscape was arranged to reflect the traditional perceptions: a balanced combination between wood, land, water and plants. Overall, it’s an emerging rectangular structure with 127 steps, leaning against the mountain. The side walls are formed by the biggest sculptures of dragons. After climbing upstairs, tourists can first see the house of epitaph. The statues of
mandarins court (including mandarins, horses, soldiers) are placed at the courtyard.
The most notable place in Khai Dinh Tomb is the Thien Dinh Palace, which contains bronze statues and steles of the King. The walls are densely decorated and inlaid with elaborate glass and porcelain designs. The most highlighted feature of this room is the intricate painting on the ceiling, illustrating nine dragons amidst fleeting clouds. Inside the tomb, there are two statues modelled the King: the one on the throne was sculptured in Paris in 1920 by Ducuing and Barbedienne.
Entrance fee is even free on big holidays such as New Years Day and National Day (September 2nd).
Khai Dinh Tomb is open from 07.30 till 17.00 hours.
From a travel blog:
"This was our second favourite tomb, due to it being quite different from the others. Built into the side of the hill it's a steep climb but well worth it. The palace with the actual tomb in it is spectacular and
colourful and you can take photos. Don't miss this one."
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