Tomb of Tu Duc (Khiem Mausoleum)
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Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc is considered as one of the four most beautiful mausoleums in the ancient capital, recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage, and honored to be one of the first historical sites in Vietnam to participate in 3D digital museums under the framework of Google Arts & Culture project.
Address: Duong Xuan Thuong village, Cu Chanh canton, Thuy Bieu commune, Thuy Xuan ward, Hue city.
Status: Recognized by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage in 1993

Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc is considered one of the four most beautiful mausoleums in the ancient capital, recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage, and honored to be one of the first historical sites in Vietnam to participate in 3D digital museums under the framework of Google Arts & Culture project.

The poet Tu Duc (1848-1883) chose for himself a resting place worthy of his throne, in line with the interests and aspirations of the most educated and romantic man among the Emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. The mausoleum is located in a narrow valley in Duong Xuan Thuong village, Cu Chanh canton (now Thuy Xuan ward, Hue City).

With 36 years of reign, Tu Duc is the longest-reigning Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. His name is Nguyen Phuc Hong Nham, the second son of Emperor Thieu Tri. According to the collective law of the feudal system, his brother, Hong Bao, should have been the successor to the throne. But due to his low talent and arrogant temperament, Hong Bao was deposed from the throne by his father, Hong Nham was brought to the throne to become Emperor Tu Duc - a king, a gentle poet, who loved the people, patriotic but physically weak, personality somewhat feeble and pessimistic.

Being an emperor in a problematic social context, the invaders attacked, the brothers fought for the throne, and the emperor himself was sick and ill, so he had no offspring. Tu Duc is indeed a fate of twisted tragedies. In order to escape that harsh life, Tu Duc built this mausoleum as a second palace to relieve sorrow and prevent "sudden departure", because as the emperor once said: "healthy people still worry about unexpected things, let alone the weak!" (Khem Cung Ky). At the beginning of construction, Emperor Tu Duc named the place Van Nien Co. But after the Chay Voi uprising initiated by brothers Doan Huu Trung, the emperor changed its name to Khiem Cung, after the king's death called Khiem Lang (Khiem Mausoleum).


At first, the mausoleum was named Van Nien Co (萬年基), after the Chay Voi Rebellion, Emperor Tu Duc changed its name to Khiem Cung (謙宮). After the emperor's death, the mausoleum was renamed Khiem Lang (謙陵).

1864: The mausoleum was built with 50,000 soldiers participating.

1866: Rename Van Nien Co to Khiem Cung.

1873: Complete the construction of Khiem Cung.


• The most beautiful mausoleum in the system of mausoleums of the Nguyen Dynasty Emperors.

Tu Duc Tomb has sophisticated architecture, and a charming landscape, and is one of the most beautiful mausoleums of the Nguyen Emperors.

• All buildings have the word Khiem

Nearly 50 works in Tu Duc's mausoleum in both the palace and mausoleum areas have the word Khiem in their names such as Vu Khiem Gate, Khiem Cung Gate, Chi Khiem Duong, Luu Khiem Lake, Xung Khiem Pavilion, Du Khiem Pavilion, Hoa Khiem Palace...

• Minh Khiem Theater - the only ancient theater in the system of mausoleums.

Minh Khiem Theater is the oldest theater among the four theaters built during the Nguyen Dynasty. This is the place used for the king to watch and sing, very high value in architectural art and decorative motifs.
• Pavilion on the water

Xung Khiem Pavilion (where the king rested, took in the breeze, wrote poetry, and enjoyed art) and Du Khiem Ta (the marina for the king when traveling to enjoy the scenery at Luu Khiem Lake) are two unique architectural works of the overall architecture of Tu Duc Tomb in particular, the Complex of Hue Monuments in general.

• Khiem Cung Ky Stele - Many “Best”

Khiem Cung Ky Stele - the stele with the largest number of characters in Vietnam with 4,935 Chinese characters engraved on both sides of the stele, is also the stele with the largest size and weight among the stele of the same type in the mausoleums of Nguyen Dynasty Emperors. This is also the only stele an emperor wrote for himself. In 2015, Khiem Cung Ky Stele was recognized as a National Treasure of Vietnam.


Panoramic view of Tu Duc Tomb as a large park. Through Vu Khiem gate, to the Luu Khiem lake area, on the lake, there are Xung Khiem and Du Khiem pavilions, where the Emperor often came to see flowers, write poems and read books.

The layout of the mausoleum consists of two main parts, arranged on two parallel vertical axes, with the same Giang Khiem Mountain in the front, Duong Xuan Mountain in the back, and Luu Khiem Lake in a clear way.

Panoramic view of Tu Duc Tomb as a large park. There are streams flowing all year round, pines ringing, and birds singing. The element that is thoroughly respected in Tu Duc Tomb is the harmony of lines. There are no straight, angular roads like other architectures, instead, there is Bat Trang brick road starting from Vu Khiem gate, passing in front of Khiem Cung gate and winding in front of the mausoleum and suddenly disappearing into the rows of giant porcelain trees near the mausoleum of Empress Le Thien Anh. Human creativity in harmony with the natural landscape creates a poetic and beautiful scene. In the charm of the clouds, and the scent of flowers, people seem to forget that it is the mausoleum of a deceased person but think it is a paradise of plants, poetry, and dreams...

Nearly 50 works in the mausoleum in both the shrine and the mausoleum have the word Khiem in the name. Passing Vu Khiem gate and Son Than shrine, visitors go on the main road leading to the shrine area, which was formerly the Emperor’s resting and entertainment place. At first, Chi Khiem Duong was on the left, where the king's wives were worshiped. Next are 3 rows of Thanh stone steps leading to Khiem Cung gate - a two-storey building in the form of a gazebo as the first confrontation with Luu Khiem lake in front. Luu Khiem Lake was originally a small stream flowing in the mausoleum area, which was dug wide into a lake. It is a "clear path" factor to "gather water", "accumulate happiness", and at the same time a place to drop lotus flowers to create scenes. In the middle of the lake is Tinh Khiem Island with flower plots and small caves for raising rare animals. On Luu Khiem Lake, there are Chong Khiem and Du Khiem pavilions, where the king came to see flowers, write poems, read books...

Inside Khiem Cung gate is an area for the king to rest when he comes here. In the middle is Hoa Khiem palace where the king used to work, now is the place to worship the king and queen's tablets. On the left and right sides are Phap Khiem Vu and Le Khiem Vu for the mandarins to serve. After Hoa Khiem Palace is Luong Khiem Palace, formerly the resting place of the king, later used to worship the spirit of Mrs. Tu Du, mother of Emperor Tu Duc. To the right of Luong Khiem Palace is On Khiem Pavilion - the place to store royal belongings. In particular, on the left side of Luong Khiem palace, there is Minh Khiem Theater for the king to watch plays, which is considered one of the oldest theaters in Vietnam still in existence. There is a corridor from On Khiem Palace leading to Tri Khiem and Y Khiem Courtyard, which is the residence of the concubines who served the emperor, even when the emperor was alive as well as when the king was dead. Next to it are Tung Khiem, Dung Khiem Courtyard, and the emperor's deer garden.

Out of the palace area, visitors follow the winding road leading to the tomb area. Right behind Bai Dinh with two rows of majestic statues of mandarins is Bi Dinh with a 20-ton Thanh stone stele engraved with the "Khiem Cung Ky" written by the king. Although he had 103 wives, Tu Duc had no offsping, so he wrote this epitaph instead of the stele "Thanh Duc Than Cong" in other mausoleums.

The full text is 4,935 words long, is an autobiography of the king about his life, his career as well as his risks and illnesses. Tu Duc wanted to use that giant stele to tell his story and confess to history. He confessed to himself: “Not being wise in knowing people is my sin; using people in the wrong place is also mine; hundreds of impossible things to do; It's all my fault..." and he left it to later history to evaluate his merits and sins. Next to the other stele, two pillars standing like two torches radiating the emperor's power and virtue, along with the new moon-shaped Tieu Khiem lake containing rainwater for the emperor's soul to baptize, it is true that Tu Duc is very thoughtful about accepting death. Therefore, Tu Duc is the embodiment of the essence of Confucianism! Now, resting in a stone house inside Buu Thanh, amidst a pine forest, the king is completely satisfied with the arrangement and choice for his death.

The poet king lay down in the middle of a space full of poetry and music, of peace in the overall magnificent architecture of the art of building tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty. After all, when standing in front of this poetic scene, everyone thinks of a verse dedicated to Emperor Tu Duc's "eternal home" with interest and admiration:

"Windy cloud four sides of the mount
Ancient moon shade, Van Nien Cedrus shadow.”

Artistic Value:

The tomb of Emperor Tu Duc is a world surrounded by tranquility, nature and harmony in the architectural complex of Hue ancient capital. Located on the edge of the ancient capital, Tu Duc Tomb is a special cultural heritage of Vietnam and can be considered the most beautiful and complete tomb among the seven tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty, and one of the most beautiful works of the nineteenth century.

The work was recognized as a national relic (artistic architectural form) according to Decision No. 54-VH/TTQD dated April 29, 1979, of the Ministry of Culture and Information (now the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism).

With great values ​​in terms of architecture, art, and history, on the occasion of World Tourism Day September 27, 2020, Tu Duc Tomb - the first monument of Vietnam was selected by Google along with other wonders and landmarks of the world to put on Google Search with augmented reality (AR).

Route Guide:

About 6km from Hue city center, the Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc is one of the few complexes of mausoleums of the Nguyen Dynasty located near the inner city. So you can visit the mausoleum relatively easily and conveniently with vehicles such as motorbikes, taxis, and even bicycles if you don't mind the sweltering heat of Hue.

If traveling by motorbike, you can take the following route: Bui Thi Xuan - Huyen Tran Cong Chua Street. Then you can ask the local people along the road and they will show you the direction to the Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc.