Tomb of Dong Khanh (Tu Mausoleum)
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The tomb of Emperor Dong Khanh, also known as Tu Lang (思陵) is a relic belonging to the complex of relics of Hue ancient capital, the burial place of Emperor Dong Khanh - the ninth emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty in Vietnamese history, reigned from 1888 to 1889.
Address: Doan Nhu Hai, Thuy Xuan, Hue City, Thua Thien Hue
Status: Recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage in 1993.

The tomb of Emperor Dong Khanh, also known as Tu Lang (思陵) is a relic belonging to the complex of relics of Hue ancient capital, the burial place of Emperor Dong Khanh - the ninth emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty in Vietnamese history, reigned from 1888 to 1889.

This is the unique and only mausoleum built throughout four 4 reigns of emperors (1888 - 1923).

Located between Thieu Tri and Tu Duc mausoleum, Dong Khanh mausoleum belongs to Cu Si village, Duong Xuan canton, today is Thuong Hai village, Thuy Xuan commune, Hue city. On December 11, 1993, the tomb of Emperor Dong Khanh was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage.


During the darkest period of Vietnamese feudal history with the "four moons three kings" under the Nguyen Dynasty, within 4 months, up to 3 kings took turns reigning, including Emperor Duc Duc, Emperor Hiep Hoa, and Emperor Kien Phuc; Dong Khanh named Nguyen Phuc Ung Duong, the eldest son of Kien Prince Nguyen Phuc Hong Cai (1845-1876) was the brother of King Kien Phuc and King Ham Nghi but was the last one put on the throne.

After ascending the throne (February 1888), Emperor Dong Khanh built a palace next to his father's tomb named Truy Tu to worship his father. The work was in progress when Emperor Dong Khanh fell ill and suddenly died.

Emperor Thanh Thai (1889-1907) succeeded in the context of the country facing many difficulties and economic exhaustion,  he could not build a regular mausoleum for his predecessor, so he had to change the Truy Tu Palace to be Ngung Hy to worship the predecessor emperor Dong Khanh. The emperor's body was also simply buried on a hill called Ho Thuan Son, 30m from Ngung Hy palace to the west. The entire mausoleum is called Tu Lang (Tu Mausoleum).

In 1916, the son of Emperor Dong Khanh ascended the throne (Emperor Khai Dinh) to repair the temple and build a mausoleum for his father. The entire mausoleum area from Bai Dinh, Bi Dinh to Buu Thanh and Huyen Cung completed the basic part until July 1917 and was completed in 1923.

On January 30, 2022, Dong Khanh Tomb was open for visitors after a long period of closure and restoration.


The outstanding architectural work in terms of art in Dong Khanh mausoleum is Ung Hy Palace, which is a dual building made in the general style of Hue palaces, but in the latter part added a third building (back house). So there are 3 systems here because they are put together in the shape of a "triangle" with two gutter systems in the middle. The actual floor area of the building is very large, but it still looks neat and beautiful, perhaps thanks to the decoration in the interior and exterior.

Decorative materials on the roof, edge, and gable, are made of iridescent blue or colored glazed terracotta. Categorized in square space, hundreds of images and verses alternately run around the whole building. There, the ancients described a lot of traditional activities and folk scenes such as carpentry, examination, fisherman, etc. chicken, snake, gecko, elephant, horse, etc. other common plants and animals. The most value here is the colored glazed terracotta. This material flourished in the Ngung Hy Palace and was later rarely used in the decoration of palaces and mausoleums. This is a unique and rare type of local handicraft.

Inside the palace, early century artisans have created a splendid golden interior space. Hundreds of pictures and verses were carved or written on the panels and the three-map system. The system of truss columns in front hall is also gilded paint. The colors of all decorative paintings are still bold and brilliant. A unique decorative image in the interior of Ngung Hy is the daily life of 24 stories in "Two decades of filial piety" showing Emperor Khai Dinh's filial piety towards his father.


In the article "World Cultural Heritage Hue Monuments - 20 Years of Looking Back" by Prof. Dr. Luu Tran Tieu commented: "The beauty of Hue architecture is not necessarily the splendor and grandeur of the scale. scale, but rather the measure of structure, appearance, harmony, and harmony between architectural works and the natural landscape environment". Like the tombs of previous kings such as Gia Long, Minh Mang, Thieu Tri, Tu Duc, Dong Khanh's Tomb has a harmonious beauty between natural elements and contrasting architecture, sophisticated from the hand. works of ancient artists.

Regarding architectural model, Dong Khanh mausoleum has about 20 large and small architectural works with relatively thick density. The impregnated area turns to the southeast, right in front of it is a semicircular lake planted with lotus to serve as an "enlightenment" element, and Thien An hill, about 3km away, is used as a "convict".

The general structure of Dong Khanh mausoleum is not much different from other tombs: facing East - Southeast, taking Thien Thai mountain as the front; Bai Dinh courtyard has rows of traditional statues of mandarins, Tru Bieu, Bi Dinh, and Buu Thanh. But from architecture, and decoration to building materials, almost all are "Europeanized". If the statues of the mandarins at Tu Duc Tomb are carved in stone with a too-low body size, on the contrary, the statues of the mandarins in Dong Khanh Tomb are covered with lime brick with a tall but thin figure using ardoise tile. In particular, Bi Dinh (where the stele is erected) has Western Neoclassical architecture mixed with traditional Asian styles, close to the later architecture of Emperor Khai Dinh mausoleum.

Artistic Value:

Built and completed over a 35-year period, the tomb of Emperor Dong Khanh bears the mark of two architectural schools of two different historical times. If the traditional style really stops in the architecture of Tu Duc Tomb and the modern style is clearly reflected in the later architecture of Khai Dinh Tomb, Dong Khanh Tomb is a transitional movement. In particular, Ngung Hy palace is considered to be the place that preserves the most famous art of gilded painting and lacquer art of Vietnam.

Route Guide:

The way to the mausoleum of the 9th emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty is quite easy to go, especially for the one first time visiting Hue; whether you choose to rent a car, take a taxi or drive yourself. Here are detailed instructions:

Departing from Hue railway station, visitors keep going in the direction of Bui Thi Xuan street, then turn to Huyen Tran Cong Chua street. From here you will see Tu Duc Tomb. Continue going for more than 100m, pay attention to the left side of the road, you will see a sign indicating the way to the tomb of Emperor Dong Khanh. 

Experience Guide:

* Opening time: 7:30 - 17:30 from Monday to Sunday

* Ticket price: 100,000 VND/time/adult; 50% off for people of Thua Thien Hue; Free for children aged 7-12.