Gia Long Tomb – to visit Gia Long’s tomb, tourists can go by boat about 18 km along the Perfume river and then land directly at the wharf of the tomb, or they can go about 16 km by car to Kim Ngoc wharf, take the bac from there and walk for some more kilometers.
The tomb of Gia Long is in fact a group of tombs including those of the Emperor’s relatives. The whole compound is spread on a joint mountain with 42 small and big mounts, amongst which Dai Thien Tho is the biggest.
The Emperor’s Tomb is located on a flat, big hill. In the front, Thien Tho Mount form a natural screen, and in the back seven hills raise like natural defenses. On the left, 14 peaks form the “left blue dragons” (Ta Thanh Long), and on the right, another 14 form the “right white tigers” (Huu Bach Ho).
The tomb complex is composed of three areas:
– In the middle: There are the double-grave tomb of the Emperor and Queen Thua Thien Cao. Passing the Honor Court, visitors can see imposing stone statues. Seven steps of the worship-yard lead to Buu Thanh on the hill top. Inside Buu Thanh, the stone double-grave is built according to the concept of “Can Khon Hiep Duc” a symbol of happiness and loyalty.
– On the right: The main monument is Minh Thanh Temple, dedicated to the Emperor and his first Queen. Formerly, it used to contain many artefacts related to Gia Long’s military life.
– On the left: The main monument is the stele pavilion. Nowadays, only the stele is left, minutely inscribed with Emperor Minh Mang’s singing of the late Emperor’s praises.
To move along the paths among the grass and wild flowers, under the fresh shady pines, tourists can visit other neighboring tombs in this section such as Quang Hung Tomb (the second wife of Lord Hien Vuong Nguyen Phuc Tan (1620- 1687), mother of Lord Nguyen Phuc Tran), Vinh Mau Tomb (the wife of Lord Nguyen Phuc Tran (1650-1691)); Thoai Thanh tomb (the second wife of Nguyen Phuc Luan and mother of Gia Long Emperor).The most noticeable one is the tomb of Thuan Thien Cao Queen, mother of Emperor Minh Mang. Next to it is Gia Thanh Temple, dedicated to her.
Gia Long’s tomb is a wonderful picture of nature and architecture, which provides a superb view of the boundless mountains and the solitary pine forest.