As one of the unique attractions in Hue, Emperor Tomb of Tu Duc is located in a narrow valley of Duong Xuan Thuong village (currently Thuong Ba village, Thuy Xuan commune, Hue city). It is worth one of things to do in Hue travel. With 36-year reign, Emperor Tu Duc was the longest-reigning monarch compared to other 13 Emperors of Nguyen Emperor. He is considered to be a kind-hearted king and a gentle poet as well. The Emperor ascended the throne in difficult social contexts with foreign invaders outside and fraternal dissension fighting each other for the throne. In particular, the king himself was not always healthy. To avoid the harsh life, Emperor Tu Duc built the complex as a second palace for his divertissement and the preparation for his resting place. When having started the construction, the Emperor called the construction Van Nien Co, and then renamed Khiem Palace. Finally, it was called Khiem Lang (Khiem Tomb) after the Emperor died.
Unlike the architecture of other tombs in Hue, Tomb of Tu Duc consists of two main parts, arranged on two parallel vertical axes. The panorama of Tu Duc’s Tomb looks like as a large park. Here, there are always the sounds of the flowing stream, of rustling pine hills, and of all the birds singing. In particular, the factor thoroughly adhered in the tomb of Tu Duc is the harmony of contours. There are no straight lines, angular architecture as others, but Bat Trang brick-tiled roads instead departs from Vu Khiem door through Khiem Cung Mon and winds in front of the tomb and suddenly hides in giant plumeri near Tomb of Queen Le Thien Anh. The creation of the locals in harmony with the natural landscapes creates lovely and magnificent scenery. In the allure of the heaven and earth along with the its fragrance, people find easy to forget that it is the resting place of a deceased person but imagines a paradise of trees, of poetry and dream ...
Considered one of the unique architectural works in Hue travel, nearly 50 works in both the tomb and chancel retain "Khiem" letters in the name. Walking through Vu Khiem door and Son Than Shrine, tourists will be on the main path leading to the shrine area. The first one is Chi Khiem Duong on the left, which worships the Emperor’s wives. Then, tourist will catch Khiem Vung Mon - form of a two-storey building in gazebo. There are Tinh Khien Island in the middle of the lake with small area for planting flowers and small caves for rare pets. Particularly, Luu Khiem lake is also home to Xung Khiem Ta and Du Khiem Ta where the Emperor watched the flowers, writing poetry and reading... 3 bridges, namely Tuan Khiem, Tien Khiem and Do Khiem...crossing the lake offer tourists to participate in immense pine hills and lush flora island. Interestingly, the feeling seems to be lost in a fantasy world midst of daily life.
Going inside Khiem Cung Mom is the area for resting Emperor when he comes here. In the middle is Hoa Khiem Palace for working place of ancient Emperor which currently is used for worshiping of the King and Queen. Both sides are Phap Khiem Vu and Le Khiem Vu for officials. Behind Hoa Khiem Palace is Luong Khiem Palace, which is former the resting place of Emperor and later used to worship Mrs. Tu Du, Emperor Tu Duc's mother. On the right of Luong Khiem Palace is On Khiem Duong - where holds King's belongings. In particular, on the left of Luong Khiem Palace is Minh Khiem Theater for the king to enjoy the theater, which is considered one of the oldest theaters in Vietnam still existing today.
Stepping out the chancel area, tourists follow the winding path to set foot in tomb area, which is the must-see attraction in Hue tours. Behind Bai Dinh with two rows of majestic martial magistrate's officials is Bi Dinh with the 20-ton heavy stele. It is engraved “Khiem Cung Ky" works drafted by the Emperor. The 4935 full-length prose text is a narrative of the Emperor on his life, mastery as well as the risks and his illness. Rest in peace in the stone house inside Buu Thanh among a pine forest really, the Emperor is surely completely satisfied with the arrangement and choice for his death.
Tu Duc's Tomb is a masterpiece poem, a charming picture of the peace in the overall transcendent architecture of tomb construction art during Nguyen Dynasty. The tomb deserves to be one of the most impressive attractions for tourists who would like to soak up the peaceful atmosphere of nature and explore the unique architecture. Tomb of Tu Duc significantly contributes to bring Hue tourism become much more attractive alluring international friends.