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Minh Mang Royal Tomb

The Minh Mang Royal Tomb in Hue, Vietnam, is the final resting place of one of the Nguyen Dynasty’s staunchest Confucians, whose reign represents the apex of Nguyen power over the country. The tomb is also one of the must-do things in Hue.

When compared to other royal tombs in Hue, this tomb’s design represents a middle way between Tu Duc’s and Khai Dinh’s – lacking the sprawling size of the former, yet far more refined than the latter, the Minh Mang tomb nonetheless offers a balance of landscaping and architecture that is unmatched among the tombs in Hue.

Every building, every hillock, works in conjunction with the composition of the whole: If the tomb speaks for the Emperor buried within it, we see the representation of an Emperor who sought balance in his reign, ruling his subjects with a firm but fair grip, but rejecting overtures from foreign nations (Minh Mang was selected for his aversion to Christian missionary activity, among other things).

Vehicles visiting Minh Mang’s Royal Tomb are required to stop at a parking lot/rest stop at the entrance, forcing visitors to walk about 500 yards on a dirt path to reach the first stop: Dai Hong Mon Gate.Dai Hong Mon is a gate with three openings; the center gate was opened only once, to admit the body of the Emperor. After the Emperor’s burial, the gate was closed for good. Visitors must enter through the two side gates, which were for the use of mandarins and other members of the royal family. (The use of three gates is common in architecture associated with the Emperor; the middle gate is always reserved for the Emperor’s use, while everyone else must use the two side gates. Visitors to the Hue Citadel, the other royal tombs in Hue, and the Temple of Literature in the Vietnam capital of Hanoi will see this first-hand.)

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