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16.08.2018 82 просмотров

The palaces and mausoleums of Hue are reminiscent of the former greatness of "imperial" Vietnam.

Already on the approach to the Vietnamese city of Hue, from the window of the plane you can see the numerous tombs that surround the city. In the largest, like small palaces, the remains of the emperors who once ruled in Vietnam are buried. Less noble people are buried among the surrounding hills. There are thousands of such graves. Small children's graves are hardly visible next to the round, stone-trimmed tombstones. So it seems that all Hue burials are arranged according to the ranking - as if someone's hard hand made a certain table of ranks.

In fact, the city of Hue, where a huge number of historical monuments are concentrated, is not such an old city. Its predecessor was Fuxuan, built closer to the sea on the site of the village of Baowin around 1687, five kilometers north of modern Hue. Half a century later, in 1744, Fu Xuan had already become the capital of the Annamite Empire, ruled by the Nguyen family, its borders basically coincided with those of modern Vietnam. The Teishon brothers, having captured Fusuan in 1768, used it as a convenient fortress in the center of the country until 1802. After the death of the two Tey Son brothers, Nguyen Anh, with the support of the French army, subjugated the entire territory of Vietnam and proclaimed himself Emperor Zha Long, founding & nbsp; last Nguyen dynasty. Depriving Thanglong (Hanoi) of the status of the capital of the empire, in 1804 he founded a new capital on the territory of present-day Hue. The city became the residence of the emperors from the Nguyen dynasty and the capital of the united Annam. 

Vietnam. Hue
Vietnam. Hue city. Photo: Reuters

Thirteen emperors of the Nguyen dynasty ruled in Hue until 1945, although for the last 60 years the rule was nominal, since the country was a French colony. In 1945, after the revolution and the proclamation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, headed by Ho Chi Minh, the last emperor Bao Dai voluntarily resigned, and Hanoi became the capital, so far only of North Vietnam.

The palaces and tombs of Hue were severely damaged between 1945 and 1990. Many buildings and masterpieces of art of the imperial city of Hue were lost during the Vietnam War. In February 1968, communist Viet Cong fighters raised their banner over the Noon Gate of the Vietnamese "Forbidden City" for the first time. 

The Americans and their South Vietnamese allies recaptured the city, but not for long. Soon communist Hanoi won a final victory in Vietnam. Only in the vicinity of Hue, more than 10 thousand people died. The last reminder of this was a round burial mound, which today is gradually covered with lush tropical vegetation.

Vietnam. Hue
Hue - a fortress within a fortress, where palaces and tombs are protected by powerful walls. Photo:

Only in the early 1990s, the looting of Hue's historical monuments stopped, and in 1993 Hue was listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site...

But let's go back to ancient Hue.

Following the example of the Beijing emperors, Zha Long ordered to build the "Forbidden City" on the territory of the citadel for his personal residence. Hue's palace complex, surrounded by high walls and water-filled moats, became a fortress within a fortress. The palace, in turn, was protected by even higher walls and even deeper moats. Throughout the building area, architects and gardeners managed to achieve amazing harmony between artificial structures and nature. Leaving the palace, the emperor enjoyed the landscapes of his gardens, artificial ponds and streams, & nbsp; beautiful pavilions, well-maintained houses of the nobility and temples. 

The main entrance to Dai Noi, the Imperial City, was decorated by the new rulers with the Noon Gate. They entered the Imperial Palace through a two-story pavilion. The middle part of its roof is lined with golden tiles, and the slopes are green. After passing the gate, the visitor enters the throne room - the Palace of Perfect Harmony. The walls of the hall are decorated with carved panels, they are covered with red and golden lacquer. The colonnade leads to the foot of the throne of Emperor Annam, which until the middle of the 20th century was occupied by the last representative of the Nguyen dynasty, Emperor Bao Dai.

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Main entrance to Dai Noi (Imperial City) in Hue. Sometimes there is a flood. Photo: Reuters

In 1820, Emperor Zha Long died, his fourth son ascended the throne, who became known as Ming Mang. It was he who made a huge contribution to the establishment of the Nguyen dynasty, expanding the borders of the country. It was Ming Mang who ordered his men to select a piece of land next to the fork of the Fragrant River for the construction of the tomb. After 14 years, Min Mang moved the construction site to the opposite bank of the river, where the tomb is today.

In 1840, the emperor sent 3,000 soldiers and workers to clear the site and build a wall surrounding the construction site to hide it from prying eyes . There is an old belief in Vietnam that if you find the remains of the deceased and abuse them, then in the afterlife the person will die, and his family on earth will cease to exist ... But before the work was completed, Minh Mang fell ill and died. It happened in 1841. His heir, Emperor Thieu Chi, ascended the throne. He ordered to continue construction according to the drawings left by the former emperor.

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The tombs of Emperor Khai Dinh. Photo: Maria Glazunova/

Min Mang was buried in the tomb that he built for himself, although it was finally completed only two years later. This man left 150 children and many concubines, many of whom he had never seen in his life - in the end, many of them found their last refuge in the vicinity of this tomb. In honor of the male power of the emperor in modern Vietnam, you can even find Minh Mang vodka on sale, it is recommended to drink it exclusively for men, naturally, to increase their male power.

The six imperial tombs are a kind of architectural pearl of Hue. Two modest stone sarcophagi organically fit into the overall architectural ensemble of the park area. This is the last resting place of Emperor Zha Long and his wife. Most of the other rulers of Hue built more pompous mausoleums for themselves during their lifetime. The tomb of Emperor Ming Mang is decorated with figures of stone elephants and horses, warriors and high-ranking dignitaries. Emperor Thiewu Tris rests in a temple surrounded by water, and Emperor Tu Duc built his grave in a pavilion standing on lancet columns over a pond, a place where he loved to indulge in contemplation and meditation...

Vietnam. Hue
 Internal interior of the tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh. Photo: Maria Glazunova/

One of the most architecturally interesting is the tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh, who ascended the throne in 1916. He soon began building a tomb for himself. It is considered the highest achievement of Vietnamese arts and crafts. It is the result of endless architectural fusions of European and Asian, ancient and modern Vietnamese styles. Other borrowings are also noticeable - Hindu, Buddhist, Romanesque and Gothic. For example, the tower-shaped gates are influenced by Indian architecture, while the arches of the doors are a variation on Romanesque architecture. It is also the result of the interaction of European and Eastern cultures, coupled with the personal preferences of the emperor, who was a very inquisitive person and loved extravagant and exotic things. However, he sometimes lacked artistic taste.


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