Thursday, 24 February 2011

Hue's temples

The Nguyen dynasty emperors believed in going out in style.

Follow the Perfume River south of Hue, and you'll pass the pine-clad hills where each successive ruler built himself a fancy-pants mausoleum. Some are extravagantly ornate; some look more like elegant country homes (indeed, some were used by the emperors prior to their death). All are worth a look.

As none were built right on the shores of the river, the easiest way to visit a few is to hire a motorbike (or a motorbike and driver, if like me you don't know how to ride one).

Tomb of Khai Dihn, the penultimate emperor (and fan of blackened concrete)
The front courtyard of the tomb of Khai Dihn - is that column winking at me?

One of the harmonious pavilions in the tomb of Minh Mang
The boating pavilion at Tu Duc's mausoleum, where the emperor used to write poetry
A more flamboyant side to Tu Duc's mausoleum, fitting for a man who  had 104 wives and a vast number of concubines living in the grounds

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