Khai Dinh tomb - an evidence of a powerful dynasty in the past

This tomb is the rest of the 12th Emperor Khai Dinh of Nguyen Dynasty (1885 -1925). It is possible to say that this construction reflects clearly the characters of Emperor Khai Dinh in his term: luxurious, swanky, etc. May be it is totally different to other tombs and palaces in Hue thanks to its special architecture which is affected much by the Westerner style. 

Emperor Khai Dinh came to the throne in 1916 and he chose the slope of Chau Chu mountain (also called Chau E), 10 km from Hue, as the location to build his tomb. The construction of the tomb was started on September 4th 1920 and lasted for 11 years.

Hue Imperial Citadel – precious relic sight of Vietnam

In comparison with those of the preceding emperors, Khai Dinh’s tomb is much smaller in surface (117m x 48.5m) but it is very elaborate. It is the result of the interminglement of many architectural trends: European and Asian, as well as ancient and modern.

The overall construction of the tomb is an emerging rectangular structure with 127 steps, leaning against the mountain.- Entering the tomb area, one should climb a 37 steps gate with the biggest dragons in the country forming the side walls. In the courtyard, line two rows of left and right altar built according to traditional configuration of "double storeys with eight roofs", but all the rafters are made of reinforced concrete.

Readmore: best tours in hue

Climbing 29 further steps, one is reaching the imperial audience court, in the centre of which stands the octagonal stele monument also made of reinforced concrete. On both sides of the courtyard, two rows of statues are facing towards the court center. In addition to these statues, similar to those of the other tombs, there are six more couples representing bodyguard soldiers. These statues are made of stone, a material very rare in Khai Dinh's tomb. The courtyard is flanked on both sides by two high and imposing pillars.

You have to go up three more levels in order to reach the altar monument. The Khai Thanh Palace is the main room of the Thien Dinh palace, which contains many connecting rooms. The walls are densely decorated and inlaid with elaborate glass and porcelain designs. The floor is covered with enameled flowers bricks and the ceiling is painted with nine dragons, appearing in fine fleeting clouds. If you have more time, we would visit the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc which is nearby Khai Dinh Emperor.