Also known as “the Summer Palace of the Nguyen Dynasty”, An Dinh Palace in Hue City is an impressive architectural work in terms of aesthetics, sculptures, and porcelain mosaic art. The critical 100-year-old historical construction is also the witness of the long-standing history of the nation, closely associated with many important people in the royal Nguyen family in Vietnam. Therefore, the palace was recognized by UNESCO on December 11th, 1993 as a world cultural heritage and is currently an extremely popular tourist magnet in Hue City.
Long-standing history of An Dinh Palace
Emperor Bao Dai and Queen Nam Phuong - Source: phongnhatourist
At the end of the 19th century, under the reign of Emperor Dong Khanh, Phung Hoa Palace was constructed to serve the eldest son - Buu Dao Prince, who became Emperor Khai Dinh later. After ascending the throne, Emperor Khai Dinh used his own money to restore Phung Hoa Palace in an innovative style. After restoration, the palace appeared to be the most magnificent and splendid one in Vietnam at that time and changed its name to An Dinh Palace. After that, it was given to Vinh Thuy Prince, also known as Emperor Bao Dai, the very final emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. After 1945, the emperor with his mother (Empress Dowager Doan Huy), his wife, and his children moved to live in this palace.
The artistic architecture of An Dinh Palace Hue
The outside of the palace - Source: doisongnews
The palace is a harmonious combination of Asian and Western architectural styles, which is completely distinctive compared to other historical sites in Hue. From afar, the palace looks like an ancient European castle, standing out with sophisticated patterns bold the typical features of Hue royal palaces. The gothic architecture of An Dinh Palace is clearly shown through decoration styles and items such as archways, pillars, etc. Originally, there were about 10 constructions in the area of 23,463m2, but after the long course of history and the negative effects of fierce wars, only three sites still remain intact, including the main entrance, Trung Lap Bower, and Khai Tuong Pavilion.
The main entrance to An Dinh Palace Hue
The main entrance of the palace was constructed according to the three-gate style, including three floors, sophisticatedly decorated with many details and patterns of crockery and colored glass. The motifs on the gate are also very familiar with Eastern culture such as tigers, dragons, phoenixes, etc. in harmony with the romantic Roman style, shown through false pillars. The rooftop of the upper floor has a giant “pearl”, representing the power of the royal family.
The middle bower (Dinh Trung Lap) in An Dinh Palace
The middle bower - Source: wikipedia
The octagonal construction is located right after the main entrance, featuring a double-layer roof with the typical design of the ancient tower’s roof. Each corner of the roof is embossed with winding dragons, representing the message of “4 regions and 8 directions”. The highlight of the Trung Lap Bower is a bronze statue of Emperor Khai Dinh with the ratio of the real person. The statue was moved to An Dinh Palace in 1922 and is placed at the center of the bower aiming at commemorating his crowning as a prince.
Khai Tuong Pavilion
Khai Tuong Pavilion - Source: vnexpress
Khai Tuong Pavilion was built in 1918 and is the most important construction which has the most critical values in terms of aesthetics on the campus of the palace. The facade is a subtle combination of classic Asian patterns such as dragons, tigers, phoenixes,... and Roman features, represented through the statues of angels and the Legion of Honor,... The structure is outstanding with the main color of yellow, interspersed with white motifs, making the entire building more eye-catching and magnificent.
Inside the Khai Tuong Pavilion of An Dinh Palace are many different rooms, namely the living room, dining room, exhibition room, and information room, featuring modern and meticulously decorated furniture, including the golden chairs, European-styled crystal vases, and classical western-designed chandeliers. Inside the three-floor palace are many valuable paintings, many of which are the most incredible masterpieces of artistic painting in Vietnam at the beginning of the 20th century.
The pillars, handrails, or mats are typical of modern Western architectural style, which was extremely rare at that time. Especially, the first floor features 7 gloriously embellished rooms, of which the most prominent is the main hall of An Dinh Palace, exhibiting 6 oil paintings on the wall, which depict the tombs of Emperor Gia Long, Emperor Minh Mang, Emperor Thieu Tri, Emperor Tu Duc, Emperor Dong Khanh, and Emperor Khai Dinh. In the middle of the main hall is the bronze statue of Emperor Bao Dai. The furniture in the dining room and living room is exquisitely gilded. The second and third floors, which used to be the residence of the Empress Dowager Tu Cung, mother of Emperor Bao Dai, Emperor Bao Dai together with his wife, is now space for exhibition and artifact display.
Information for travelers to An Dinh Palace
Where is An Dinh Palace Hue located?
Look from outside - Source: phongnhatouris
This palace was built in 1917, now it is located at No.179 Phan Dinh Phung Street, Phu Nhuan Ward, Hue City. It lies near An Cuu gentle river, about 3km from Hue Imperial City, 2,5km from Dong Ba Market, and 1,9km from Truong Tien Bridge. If you get to the palace by private transport, you can park in a parking lot in the campus of the palace.
How much is An Dinh Palace entrance fee in 2022?
The entrance fee in 2022 is listed as below:
- Adult: 50,000 VND/ ticket ($2.18)
- Kids under 12 years old: free
- The ticket counter is located near the main entrance
- The ticket price can be changed depending on different times
- Opening hours: 6:30am - 5:30pm in summer and 7am - 5pm in winter.
Other tourist spots near An Dinh palace
The memorial house of Duc Tu Cung (Empress Dowager Doan Huy)
The memorial house is currently managed by Hue Monuments Conservation Center. The house now is opened for tourists to introduce the work closely associated with the walks of life of Empress Dowager Doan Huy - the final Empress Dowager of Vietnam. The first and the second floors are space for photos and objects of the royal family, namely Emperor Khai Dinh, Emperor Bao Dai’s family, the Empress Dowager and Ton Nhan Palace.
The memorial house is just 300m from An Dinh Palace Hue - Source: Flickr
The second floor consists of several rooms, one for meetings of the Nguyen Phuc family, descendants of the Nguyen Dynasty, one to worship the Empress Dowager Doan Huy, and a library of the Nguyen Phuc Family, the rest are used for locals and tourists to pay a visit and discover the Nguyen Phuc Family, the Nguyen Dynasty and Hue traditional culture.
- Address: No.145 Phan Dinh Phung Street, Phu Nhuan Ward, Hue City
The tomb of Emperor Duc Duc
The tomb of Emperor Duc Duc is a popular tourist spot near An Dinh Palace. Also known as An Mausoleum, this is the burial place of Emperor Duc Duc, the 5th one of the Nguyen Dynasty. It is a historical relic in the complex of Hue monuments recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage. With an area of 4,445m2, the tomb consists of two main areas: Long An Palace and the tomb of the emperor with his wife. Long An Palace - just 1.4km from An Dinh Palace, is a construction built according to the typical architecture of Hue’s palaces. This is the place dedicated to the Emperor Duc Duc with his wife, Emperor Thanh Thai (the 7th son of Emperor Duc Duc), and Emperor Duy Tan (the 8th son of Emperor Thanh Thai). Behind Long An Palace is the harem of the emperor’s wives as well as the resting place of the emperors of Thanh Thai and Duy Tan. There are also numerous tombs of Emperor Thanh Thai’s wives here.
- Location: Duy Tan Street, Phuoc Vinh Ward, Hue City
- Opening hours: 7am - 5:30pm
An Cuu Market
This is one of the busiest markets in Hue - Source: brghospitality
An Cuu Market - a busy market in Hue is an ideal dining place for you to drop off after a long, tiring tour around An Dinh Palace Hue. Currently, this is the largest market in the South of Hue City, selling a wide array of goods, particularly specialties of Hue City such as Hue beef vermicelli, Chua sweet soup (chè Chùa), flat steamed rice dumplings (bánh nậm), Vietnamese pyramid rice dumpling (bánh giò), mung bean pastry (bánh đậu xanh), etc. A food tour around the market will bring you closer to the “true paradise” of Hue culinary arts.
- Location: Hung Vuong street, Phu Hoi ward, Hue city, only 230m from An Dinh Palace
With sophisticated, meticulous architecture combined between classic Vietnamese and Western-style, together with its important roles in the history of the country, An Dinh has become a tourist attraction that is definitely worth a visit once you travel to the charming Hue city. Apart from An Dinh Palace, the used-to-be-the capital city of Hue is also home to many other worth-visiting sites such as Hue Imperial City, the complex of royal tom (the tombs of Gia Long, Minh Mang, Thieu Tri, Tu Duc, Dong Khanh, Khai Dinh and Duc Duc), Thien Mu Pagoda, Truc Lam Bach Ma Zen Monastery, Vong Canh Hill, Perfume River, Hon Chen Palace, and Dong Ba Market, etc. A Hue City tour would not only give you a lot of joy but also help you to discover the historical, and cultural values of this charming, poetic city.