Tomb of Khải Định
History and museums
The Tomb of Khải Định is located in Chau Chu mountain near Huế in Vietnam. It was built for the Nguyễn Emperor Khải Định. It was built from 1920 to 1931 taking 11 years to complete. The tomb is a blend of Western and Eastern architecture. It is located on a steep hill.
In 1916, Khải Định became the Emperor of Vietnam. The Emperor worked closely with the government of France, and by the end of his reign he was considered to be nothing more than "a salaried employee of the French government." Due to this close collaboration, he was very unpopular amongst the people of Vietnam. Like a number of Vietnamese emperors, Khải Định desired the preparation of a tomb in anticipation of his death, but he was the last member of the Nguyễn Dynasty to make this decision. Construction began in 1920 and concluded in 1931, with the Emperor increasing tax by 30 per cent to fund the lavish mausoleum. Before his 1925 death, the Emperor visited France where he was likely influenced by the architectural styles there, evidenced by the European influences in his Oriental mausoleum. The tomb was completed by Bảo Đại, Khải Định's successor, in 1931.
Khải Định's tomb's surface area is much smaller than the tombs of his predecessors. However, the building itself is far more elaborately designed than others of its era, being a mix of a number of architectural styles. The tomb is of a rectangular structure leaning against Chau Chu Mountain in the outskirts of Huế. The side walls are formed by the biggest sculptures of dragons in all of Vietnam. The tomb is home to an imperial audience court, featuring a reinforced concrete stele monument, as well as twelve stone statues representing bodyguards. Close to the top floor is the Khai Thanh Palace, featuring intricately designed glass and porcelain decorations on the walls. The ceiling of the palace is decorated with nine intricate dragons. The rear room of the palace is home to a temple containing Khải Định's grave, an altar to him as well as a statue of his likeness, cast in Marseilles.