Tomb of Gia Long is located 16km from the center of Hue, on the top of the Thien Tho Mountain, on the West Bank of the Perfume River. 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 forms 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. 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 Mangi's singing of the late Emperor's praises.
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.
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