Nam Giao Esplanade
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Nam Giao Esplanade

The Nam Giao Esplanade in Hue is still in existence and located within the complex of the former capital city, making it one of the few places that showcase local cultural rituals. This site is not only captivating due to its architectural beauty with a strong historical style but also serves as a serene area suitable for contemplation and introspection.

While exploring the city of Hue, apart from visiting historical sites such as the An Dinh Palace and the royal tombs of ancient kings, a visit to the Nam Giao Esplanade is an experience that cannot be missed. This structure features unique and iconic architecture expressed through intricate artistic works. It’s also where the kings organized solemn rituals honoring nature and the cosmos, symbolizing reverence and a deep connection to the universe.

Hue and the Nam Giao Esplanade

Positioned in the Truong An Ward, Hue City, Thua Thien Hue Province, the Nam Giao Esplanade is approximately 5km west of the Imperial City of Hue. Located in the Duong Xuan Village, it lies to the south of the ancient capital city. The construction of the Nam Giao Esplanade began on March 25, 1806, during the reign of King Gia Long. During the Nguyen Dynasty, a total of 10 kings organized 98 grand celestial ceremonies at this site.

Reaching the Nam Giao Esplanade

To reach the Nam Giao Esplanade from the central part of Hue City, you can use the following transportation options:

Motorbike/car: From the city center, take Le Duan Street across Bach Ho Bridge, then turn right onto Bui Thi Xuan Street, followed by a left onto Dien Bien Phu Street. Proceed straight for another 2km to arrive at the Nam Giao Esplanade.

Bus: Bus route number 5 is another option you can use. This bus route also passes through other famous attractions such as the Hue National School, Bao Quoc Pagoda, and the Khai Dinh Tomb.

Visiting the Nam Giao Esplanade provides insights not only into historical architecture but also into the significant rituals of the Hue royal dynasty.

Entrance Fee and Opening Hours of the Nam Giao Esplanade

Opening Hours

  • Morning: From 7:30 AM to 12:00 PM.
  • Afternoon: From 1:30 PM to 5:00 PM.

Ticket Prices

  • Adults: 30,000 VND per person.
  • Children (under 1.3m): Free.

History of the Nam Giao Esplanade

Pre-1945 History

The image of the Nam Giao Esplanade is intertwined with many significant events in the history of Hue City and the entire nation of Vietnam.

  • 1806: Construction of the Nam Giao Esplanade began.
  • March 27, 1807: King Gia Long held the first celestial ceremony at the Nam Giao Esplanade.
  • 1807 to 1885: For 79 years, the annual celestial ceremonies were held at the Nam Giao Esplanade during spring.
  • 1886 to 1890: The ceremonies were temporarily suspended.
  • 1891 to 1945: The Nam Giao ceremonies took place every three years.
  • March 23, 1945: The final ceremonial event of the Nguyen Dynasty took place at the Nam Giao Esplanade.

Post-1945 History

August 1945: After the downfall of the Nguyen Dynasty, war and its aftermath caused damage to the Nam Giao Esplanade.

  • 1977: A memorial for fallen soldiers was built on the foundation of the old Viên Đàn.
  • 1992: The memorial was relocated, and restoration and conservation efforts were undertaken on the Nam Giao Esplanade by the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre.
  • 1993: The Nam Giao Esplanade was recognized as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.
  • 1997: The site was officially designated as a National Historical and Cultural Monument.

Therefore, the Nam Giao Esplanade is not only an architectural symbol of history but also a significant part of Vietnam’s historical and cultural journey.

Distinctive Architectural Features of the Nam Giao Esplanade

Unique Geographic Location and Landscape

The Nam Giao Esplanade holds a distinctive position with a total area of 10 hectares, including the Giao Đàn platform and various auxiliary structures such as the Thần Trù (Kitchen God), Trai Cung (Purification House), Thần Khố (Divine Storehouse), and more. There are four main gates, with the main gate facing south. Surrounding the ceremonial site are lush pine forests, symbolizing the nobility of the scholar.

Unique Three-Tiered Architectural Design of Giao Đàn

Giao Đàn, where the primary rituals take place, features a unique three-tiered architectural design following the Tam Tai (Three Powers) principle: Heaven – Earth – Humanity, corresponding to the circular heaven and square earth:

  • Tier 1: Viên Đàn, a circular platform with blue lime color symbolizing Heavenly Blue.
  • Tier 2: Phương Đàn, a square platform with yellow lime color symbolizing Earthly Yellow.
  • Tier 3: Nhân Đàn, another square platform with red lime color symbolizing Humanity Red. Related Auxiliary Structures

In addition to Giao Đàn, the Nam Giao Esplanade complex includes various auxiliary structures such as:

  • Trai Cung: Where the king underwent rituals of purification. Its architecture is designed in a “sitting north, facing south” manner.
  • Tế Sinh Sở: The site where animals were slaughtered in preparation for rituals.
  • Thần Trù: The kitchen for preparing ritual offerings.
  • Thần Khố: A storehouse for ritual equipment.

All these architectural features reflect the complexity and deep significance of the Nam Giao Esplanade in Hue’s history and culture.

Historical Monuments near Nam Giao Esplanade in Hue

An Dinh Palace

  • Address: 179B Phan Dinh Phung Street, Ward 9, Hue City.

An Dinh Palace was constructed in 1917 and has stood for hundreds of years. Despite the passage of time, this historical site still holds its historical value and architectural uniqueness. It’s an appealing destination for history enthusiasts.

Minh Mang Tomb

  • Address: Cam Ke Hill, Huong Tho Commune, Thua Thien Hue.

Minh Mang Tomb, also known as Hieu Tomb, is located approximately 12km from the city center. This tomb complex comprises 40 distinct structures. The architecture of Minh Mang Tomb is exceptional and majestic, showcasing the standards of the Nguyen dynasty.

Hòn Chén Palace

  • Address: Ngoc Tran Hill, Ngoc Ho Village, Huong Tra Commune, Thua Thien Hue.

Hòn Chén Palace is the sole temple in Hue that combines both imperial rituals and folk beliefs. Its architecture is impressively adorned with delicate decorative art from the 19th century, featuring 10 architectural structures situated on Ngoc Tran Hill, overlooking the Perfume River.

Experience the rich cultural heritage of Hue with our Nam Giao Esplanade Hue cultural tours by Origin Travel. Immerse yourself in the history, traditions, and beauty of this enchanting destination. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable journey! Book your tour now and create lasting memories with us.

Private Hue Tour Package 5 days

This excursion itinerary encompasses no less than 3 UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites. The sixteenth century silk course trading port of Hoi An. Beside My Son holy land, the sacred remains of the ancient Cham civilization. Specially the imperial city of Hue. The region is rich in natural culture and history. This tailored tour as such has tremendous long term potential for the development of road tourism during the Indochina region.
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