Kien Trung Palace
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Kien Trung Palace from above
Điện Kiến Trung (建中), also known as Kiến Trung Palace, or Kiến Trung Pavilion in chu nom script, is a palace built in 1923 during the reign of King Khải Định. It is one of the five major structures located at the northernmost point of the central axis of the Imperial City, with the character "Kiến" signifying establishment or founding, and "Trung" implying directness and non-deviation.
Kien Trung Palace from above


Điện Kiến Trung (建中), also known as Kiến Trung Palace, or Kiến Trung Pavilion in chu nom script, is a palace built in 1923 during the reign of King Khải Định. It is one of the five major structures located at the northernmost point of the central axis of the Imperial City, with the character "Kiến" signifying establishment or founding, and "Trung" implying directness and non-deviation.

This is the workplace and residence of the last two kings of the Nguyen dynasty: King Khải Định and King Bảo Đại. Kiến Trung Palace is also known as the place where King Khải Định passed away (on November 6, 1925); and where Queen Nam Phương gave birth to Prince Bảo Long (on January 4, 1936), and it is also historically significant as the place where King Bảo Đại had his first meeting with the Provisional Government delegation to officially discuss his abdication after the successful August Revolution in 1945.


At this location, there were previously two structures: Minh Viễn Pavilion and Du Cửu Pavilion. Minh Viễn Pavilion was built in 1827 under the reign of King Minh Mạng. It was a large wooden building with three floors, standing 15.80 meters above the ground. The pavilion served as a place for the king to occasionally enjoy the scenery and take fresh air. During the reign of King Thiệu Trị, the pavilion was renovated, and a luminous pearl was placed on its roof, shining brightly every night. Minh Viễn Pavilion was considered by King Thiệu Trị as the first beautiful scene in the "Twenty Scenes of the Capital" collection. However, this architectural structure was dismantled during the reign of King Tự Đức, possibly due to its significant deterioration after nearly half a century of existence. This occurred during a challenging period for the Southern Dynasty, especially in financial matters, caused by the invasion of the French colonialists.

Kien Trung Palace in the 1920s (Photo: Wikipedia)

In 1913, King Duy Tân commissioned the construction of another pavilion on the old foundation of this building, adopting a new architectural style and naming it Du Cửu Pavilion. This new pavilion consisted of only 2 floors with relatively simple architecture.

After ascending the throne in 1916, King Khải Định renamed Du Cửu Pavilion to Kiến Trung Pavilion. From 1921 to 1923, the king completely rebuilt Kiến Trung Pavilion with a blend of Eastern and Western architectural styles. This included French architecture, and Italian Renaissance architecture, combined with elements of traditional Vietnamese architecture.


During the reign of Khải Định (1916 - 1925), much of Vietnam's sovereignty fell into the hands of the French colonizers, and Western culture strongly influenced our country. Particularly in 1922, King Khải Định embarked on a journey to Europe, leading to the incorporation of modern architectural elements and construction techniques into many new or renovated architectural works during his reign. Instead of relying primarily on traditional local building materials such as wood, stone, brick, and lime mortar, King Khải Định preferred durable materials like cement, steel, porcelain, and glass. In his mausoleums and palaces, modern amenities and techniques such as electric lights, running water, water fountains, lightning rods, and iron gates were employed.

After the passing of King Khải Định, King Bảo Đại undertook the renovation of the palace, incorporating additional Western amenities. Thus, the Kien Trung Palace became the shared residence of the entire royal family, including King Bảo Đại, Queen Nam Phương, Prince Bảo Long, Princesses Phương Mai, Phương Liên, Phương Dung, and Prince Bảo Thăng.

On August 29, 1945, the Kien Trung Palace witnessed a significant historical event: King Bảo Đại's first contact with the provisional government delegation to formally discuss abdication and transfer of governing authority to the provisional government. 

By 1947, the Kien Trung Palace had completely collapsed, leaving only its foundation.

On February 16, 2019, Hue Monuments Conservation Center commenced the restoration and revitalization project of the Kien Trung Palace. The project covered an area of over 3,800 square meters. The construction units preserved the existing foundation structure and minimized intervention in the original features of the heritage site. 

The project included reinforcement, restoration of perimeter walls, railing systems, courtyard areas comprising forecourt and rear court, as well as various levels; restoration of the Kien Trung Palace (Kien Trung Pavilion) with 2 floors, approximately 14 meters in height, and a construction area of about 975 square meters. Additionally, the project renovated small structures such as brick platforms, fountain pedestals, artillery platforms, guardhouses, and greenery systems, and preserved the foundation of the Dong Cung Pavilion, Imperial Archive Room, Military Hall, and the Imperial Reading Room. The project had a total investment of over 123 billion VND from the cultural development program funds and other legally mobilized sources.

5 years after the commencement of restoration and revitalization, the Kien Trung Palace heritage site has been completed and officially opened to the public, introducing it to the people and tourists during the 2024 Lunar New Year.

Artistic Value:

According to experts, alongside its historical significance, the Kien Trung Palace also holds great architectural and artistic values, featuring the characteristics of a colonial-style construction with a fusion of East-West elements, including French architecture, Italian Renaissance styles, and traditional Vietnamese architecture.

Together with other structures from the Khai Dinh era such as the An Dinh Palace, Hien Nhon Gate, and the Khai Dinh Tomb, the Kien Trung Palace enriches the Vietnamese architectural style during the neoclassical period, especially in the art of enamel ceramics, which is characteristic of the Nguyen Dynasty's royal architecture.

Locals and tourists enjoy visiting Kien Trung Palace after restoration and embellishment

Route Guide:

The Kien Trung Palace is located in the Imperial City of Hue. It is approximately 2.7km from the city center. Visitors are advised to take the shortest and most convenient route from Phu Xuan Bridge, turning left onto Le Duan Street, then right onto Cua Ngan or Cua Quang Duc Street, and continue along the riverbank to reach the Nam Thang/Nam Xuong parking lot.

From there, visitors can walk to Ngan Gate to enter the Imperial City. After passing through the main structures along the central axis from Trung Dao Bridge to Thai Hoa Palace, Can Chanh Palace, Can Thanh Palace, and Khon Thai Palace, they will reach the Kien Trung Palace.


To meet the demand for exploring and experiencing the royal atmosphere at Kien Trung Palace and within the Imperial City of Hue, Hue Monuments Conservation Center offers costume rental services at Huu Vu (behind Thai Hoa Palace) and on the ground floor of Kien Trung Palace. Visitors can easily choose traditional costumes such as ao dai, ao tac, and ao nhat binh, along with related accessories (wooden clogs, silk belts, scarves, conical hats, dresses, etc..) at affordable prices, which are very convenient for touring and exploring the Hue monuments.