The tomb of Tu Duc, approximately 5 kilometers outside of Hue, the former Imperial Capital, is one of the grandest of all with construction that took place over 3 years requiring 10,000 laborers.
Tu Duc was the longest reigning Emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, holding power for 36 years from 1848-83. His tomb served as palatial retreat for himself, his wives, concubines, and entourage after it’s completion in 1867.
The tomb complex is filled with buildings, temples, a lake, a tiny island where he could hunt small game, pavilions for relaxing and writing poetry and expansive grounds.
Tu Duc’s remains were never actually buried at the site of the tomb where he had spent so much time. Instead they were placed in a mysterious location somewhere around Hue. To ensure secrecy, the 200 workers that buried Tu Duc’s remains were beheaded afterwards. To this day this site has still not been discovered.
It’s hard to justify the tomb with the history of suffering and loss associated with it’s creation. Furthermore the lives that were sacrificed in order to preserve a mysterious burial site.
When I walked around the Tomb of Tu Duc while broadcasting live on Periscope it was truly hard not to appreciate it’s beauty while marvelling at the craftsmanship, artistry, and design.
Much more fitting than a legacy to one man is a belief that this site reflects the beauty of Vietnamese architecture, heritage, and the hard work and sacrifice of it’s people.
The day I broadcasted live on Periscope from the Tomb of Tu Duc, the temperatures were in the mid-thirties celsius. Before and after the broadcast I explored the tomb complex while capturing images and shooting video for future podcasts. Working in the heat was exhausting, I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for the labourers who turned this landscape into an Emperor’s paradise. I hope you enjoy this “Best of” broadcast from the Tomb of Tu Duc in Hue, Vietnam.
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