Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hue - Mausoleums and Cemetery

Back in the olden days, the emperors had some elaborate tombs built for them... while they were still alive. The tombs are like small parks, with ponds and streams and forests. This one is for a guy called Tu Duc... his tomb area was very peaceful and relaxing.

The gate to the tomb is pretty impressive.

And the pine forests are different from the surrounding jungle. So cool and serene.

Oh boy... these are the steps to one of the tombs (there are several here). I think this must be a super important person's tomb because there are so many steps but no... this was just Tu Duc's adopted son's tomb and it is the smallest one here!

More stairs??? Ugh...

Oh look... a flower!! I think I'll just distract Mama from all these stairs and wander off somewhere else!

Oh... this is Mr. Tu Duc's tomb! It is huge!! The tombs are designed as a square within a square. The space between the outer and the inner square tells you how important someone is... big space means big importance. The inner square opening is shielded by a free-standing wall... so the evil spirits can't get in?

Another dragon! Remember what they do?? They scare away the evil spirits... RAHHH!!!

Oh my goodness... there was this huge plaque with a big story on it... It tells the story of Tu Duc's life... a self-critical autobiography apparently. This is when you learn about all the bad things he did in secret!

It was pretty neat here and there were many things to see...

Hey... I'm a mahout (elephant trainer)! I keep asking Mama when I'll get to ride a real elephant instead of stone elephants but she just mutters something under her breath about impatient little bears...

Oh and there was a horse here too! I haven't ridden any stone horses yet... giddyup! No, wait... was there a horse in Can Tho??? I can't remember anymore... this has been a beary long trip!

These guys are guardians along with the stone elephants and horses.

On our way back to town, we bicycled past a real cemetery (not an imperial one)... "Lemme out, Lemme out"!!! I have been wanting to take pictures of these our whole trip to show Sullivan McPig who likes cemeteries. Vietnam cemeteries and graves are different from western ones.

So... here we have a cemetery... hmmm... it's out of focus! Many times the graves are clustered together, like here. But sometimes you will see graves in rice fields, just plunked down in the middle, with no apparent rhyme or reason. The living like to have their ancestors nearby, so will bury them and then farm around them.

Here's a grave... see how they have a wall around them - just like at the imperial tombs. And then the opening is shielded by another wall... I think it has something to do with Feng Shui.

The cemeteries are all very overgrown with weeds and stuff...

Here you can see one of the shielding walls.

And those are dragons up at the top... keeping the evil spirits at bay.

This cemetery was on a hill with a rice paddy below it. That is very good Feng Shui - to have a mountain/hill behind and water/rice fields in front. Very auspicious!
There is a whole ritual associated with the ancestors here in Vietnam. Ancestors are very important and their death day is a big day of remembrance for the family.


  1. Sandy, you look great riding that elephant! Elephants also have really big noses, so we wonder if they could smell out local honey caches...

  2. Oh that could be! I'm starting to wonder if the imperial family in Hue were secret honey hoarders... big cauldrons to store it... thick wall and fortress to protect it... elephants to seek it out!! Could be...

  3. OH! Well, if you find any, be sure to let us know and we'll start planning our trip right away! hehe