To Mieu Temple complex, Hue, Vietnam.

© Michael Runkel/robertharding/Getty Images

To Mieu Temple Complex

Top choice in Hue

Taking up the southwest corner of the Imperial Enclosure, this highly impressive walled complex has been beautifully restored. The imposing three-tiered Hien Lam Pavilion sits on the south side of the complex; it dates from 1824. On the other side of a courtyard is the solemn To Mieu Temple, housing shrines to each of the emperors, topped by their photos. Between these two temples are Nine Dynastic Urns (dinh) cast between 1835 and 1836, each dedicated to one Nguyen sovereign.

About 2m in height and weighing 1900kg to 2600kg each, the urns symbolise the power and stability of the Nguyen throne. The central urn, the largest and most ornate, is dedicated to dynasty founder Gia Long. Also in the courtyard are two dragons, trapped in what look like red phone boxes.

On the north side of the complex, a gate leads into a small walled enclosure that houses the Hung To Mieu Temple, a reconstruction of the 1804 original, built to honour Gia Long’s parents.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Hue attractions

1. Five Cannons of Nine Holy Cannons

0.14 MILES

Located just inside the Citadel ramparts, near the gates to either side of the Flag Tower, are the Nine Holy Cannons (1804). These five cannons next to…

2. Thai Hoa Palace

0.15 MILES

This 1803 palace is a spacious hall with an ornate timber roof supported by 80 carved and lacquered columns. It was used for the emperor’s official…

3. Dien Tho Residence

0.15 MILES

The stunning, partially ruined Dien Tho Residence (1804) once comprised the apartments and audience hall of the Queen Mothers of the Nguyen dynasty. The…

4. Ngo Mon Gate

0.16 MILES

The principal entrance to the Imperial Enclosure is Ngo Mon Gate, which faces the Flag Tower. The central passageway with its yellow doors was reserved…

5. Quang Duc Gate

0.17 MILES

The five cannons next to Quang Duc Gate represent the five elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth.

6. Halls of the Mandarins

0.19 MILES

Located immediately behind Thai Hoa Palace, on either side of a courtyard, these halls were used by mandarins as offices and to prepare for court…

7. Imperial Enclosure


The Imperial Enclosure or Imperial City is a citadel-within-a-citadel, housing the emperor’s residence, temples and palaces, and the main buildings of…

8. Purple Forbidden City

0.22 MILES

In the very centre of the Imperial Enclosure, there's almost nothing left of the once-magnificent Purple Forbidden City. This was a citadel-within-a…