March 31: Hue – Emperors Tombs
We were picked up early this morning for a scenic drive to the town of Hue. This afternoon, we visited the tombs of Tu Duc, and Khai Dinh, both built on a mountain side overlooking a pleasant valley scene to commemorate the life of an Emperor who us usually not buried at that place, but at some secret place to avoid desecration.
There have been many Emperors of Vietnam through the ages. Tu Duc – the fourth Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, reigning from 1847-1883, was considered the last Emperor of Vietnam to rule independently. He unsuccessfully tried to isolate his country from the outside world and resisted all council to modernize. The resulting Sino-French War established the French as the rulers of the region as the Chinese relinquished their authority. Tu Duc’s tomb is our first stop this afternoon.
Note the several different colors of tile. We were told this occurred when attempts were made to excavate the area in search of the tombs of Tu Duc and his wife.
Next we visited the tomb of Khai Dinh , the 12th Emperor of Vietnam’s Nguyen Dynasty, reigning from 1916 – 1925, who was in effect a puppet ruler giving legitimacy to French dictates and was hated by the Vietnamese on that account. Khai Dinh’s tomb is smaller than the tombs of other Emperors, but more elaborate, representing several architectural styles and containing an elevated statue of him cast in Marseilles.