Culture highlights

The Ancient Asian-European Beauty of a Hue Palace

An Dinh Palace, located at No. 97 Phan Dinh Phung Street in Hue, is one of the buildings in the palace system from the Nguyen dynasty. With an amalgamation of architectural features between Asia and Europe, An Dinh Palace is an architectural structure that is completely different from hundreds of relics in the complex of Hue monuments. An Dinh Palace is a prime example of neoclassical architecture in Vietnam from the early 20th century.

An Dinh Palace was originally known as Phung Hoa Palace - a wooden building located on the banks of the An Cuu River. Emperor Dong Khanh built An Dinh Palace in 1917 as a private palace for his eldest son, who later became Emperor Khai Dinh, to live in until the day he ascended to the throne.

An Dinh palace has a total of 22 rooms. Photo: Truong Vung

Patterns of royal style on the An Dinh palace's gate. Photo: Truong Vung

The murals at An Dinh palace are about 100 years old. They are excellent paintings of the transition period between traditional and new art in Vietnam in the early 20th century. Photo: Truong Vung
Photograph of Queen Nam Phuong at An Dinh palace. Photo: Truong Vung
European-style furniture at An Dinh palace. Photo: Truong Vung
The double stairs to the 2nd floor in An Dinh palace are elaborately and sophisticatedly decorated. Photo: Truong Vung

After ascending to the throne in 1917, Emperor Khai Dinh used his own money to start renovating Phung Hoa palace in a modern way, turning the original wooden mansion into the most magnificent palace in Vietnam at that time. It was eventually renamed An Dinh Palace. Continuing the tradition, Emperor Khai Dinh bequeathed An Dinh palace to Prince Vinh Thuy (later known as Emperor Bao Dai).

After the August Revolution in 1945, Emperor Bao Dai abdicated the throne. His family, including Queen Nam Phuong, Empress Dowager Tu Cung, and other princes and princesses, relocated from Hue Imperial Palace to An Dinh Palace.

An over view of An Dinh palace. Photo: Truong Vung
Eurasian architectural patterns of An Dinh palace. Photo: Truong Vung
The main gate to An Dinh palace. Photo: Truong Vung

During the reigns of Emperor Khai Dinh (1916-1925) and Bao Dai (1926-1945), An Dinh Palace was the venue for royal receptions and celebrations with the participation of the officials. After nearly half a century of being forgotten, under the ravages of time and war, the beauty of An Dinh Palace was recovered. Since 2002, An Dinh Palace has been taken care of by the Hue Monuments Conservation Center for management and restoration.

The whole palace was built on an area of ​​​​more than 23,000m2. Originally, the palace consisted of about 10 structures and places, a boat dock, main gate, the Trung Lap Pavilion, the Khai Tuong Building, Cuu Tu Dai theater, an animal cage and a lake. After over 100 years, only three structures are left, the main gate, the Trung Lap Pavilion, and the Khai Tuong Building.

The highlight of the entire area is a building called Khai Tuong, which resembles a European palace. The structure is located right behind the Trung Lap Pavilion.  

The name "Khai Tuong" was given by Emperor Khai Dinh which means, “the start of auspicious things”. The Khai Tuong Building consists of three floors built in the European style in an area of ​​745m2. The front is elaborately decorated with modern Roman patterns such as a Legion of Honor and angels, mixed with traditional oriental royal symbols such as dragons, a phoenix and tigers.  

The Khai Tuong building has a total of 22 rooms. The 1st floor has seven splendidly decorated rooms, the most prominent of which is the main hall. The second floor consists of eight bedrooms. The third floor has seven rooms, including the residence of Empress Dowager Tu Cung and a place of worship.

The most unique feature of the Khai Tuong building is the main hall which features six wall paintings depicting the tombs of six Nguyen emperors. 

 

 Visiting hours of An Dinh Palace in the summer are from 6:30 to 17:30 and in the winter: from 7:00 to 17:00

Ticket prices are 30,000 dong (1.3 US dollar) per person.


By Truong Vung - Translated by Hong Hanh

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