Emperor Palace- historical relic ups and downs

Tuesday - 16/01/2018 14:40
The Emperor Palace is one of the famous historical relics of Binh Dinh Province associated with three historical periods: Champa Kingdom, Tay Son Dynasty and Nguyen Dynasty. The Palace is located on the territory of Nhon Hau commune and Dap Da town, An Nhon commune is 20km from Quy Nhon city in northwest. The Emperor Palace was listed National relic by Ministry of culture- Information in 1982.
In history, this palace was the capital of Champa Kingdom, called Do Ban Citadel. In the period from XI century to XV century, Champa capital was in Do Ban Citadel. In 1471, King Le thanh Tong led his troops to conquer Champa, merging Binh Dinh territory into Dai Viet territory; Do Ban Citadel was no longer able to retain the role of the capital of Champa. Untill the Tay Son rebellion erupted in XVII century, the palace once again promoted its historical role. Afetr capturing Quy Nhon City (now Nhon Thanh Ward, An Nhon commune), Nguyen Nhac decided to choose Do Ban Citadel as the headquater for Tay Son movement. He built in 1775 on the basis of Do Ban Citadel of Champa Kingdom left. In 1778, at this citadel, Nguyen Nhac became Emperor, taking Thai Duc name. From here, Do Ban Citadel officialy named Emperor Palace and became the capital of the central government of Emperor Thai Duc- Nguyen Nhac.
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Tomb of Vo Tanh- photo: BTPI Center
In 1793, Nguyen Nhac died; Emperor Palace lost its role as the capital of central government and became a defense citadel of Quy Nhon city. In the period from 1793 to 1802, the downhill route of Tay Son Dynasty, Emperor Palace was the place where the fiercest battles took place between Tay Son and Nguyen Anh troops. Of which, the most typical battle was in 1799; Nguyen army was rearranged Quy Nhon city by Vo Tanh. To mark this event, Nguyen Anh changed name into Binh Dinh, gave Vo Tanh and Ngo Tung Chau to keep the citadel. In the winter of 1799, coming to 1800, two generals of Tay Son Dynasty were Tran Quang Dieu and Vo Van Dung brought their troops into Binh Dinh. The battle here was quite long; Vo Tanh troops were besieged in the city, exhausted, run out of food. When the troops in city had no longer enough strength to fight, Ngo Tung Chau drank poison to suicide. Later, Vo Tanh wrote to Tran Quang Dieu pardon for all his generals then up to octagonal lit fire to self immolation. In 1801, after Tran Quang Dieu and Vo Van Dung captured the city, two generals of Nguyen Dynasty were touchy by the courage so they were buried and forgave Nguyen Dynasty.
In 1802, Tay Son Dynasty collapsed and Quy Nhon citadel‘s mission ended. Nguyen Anh ascended the thronem naming Gia Long, located in Phu Xuan. From here, Qui Nhon citadel was officialy called Binh Dinh citadel and was the city of Binh Dinh town. After ascending the throne, in 1805 Nguyen Dynasty established Vo Tanh tomb on the basic of Octagonal Palace of Emperor Palace and using Octagonal as a place of worshipping, called Octagonal Floor. Till 1815, city of Binh Dinh town was moved to the South (Kim Chau village, now is the area Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Binh Dinh town). Nguyen Dynasty eliminated all the old palaces of Emperor Palace, unloaded old bricks to build new palace, except Octagonal Floor was repaired as Song Trung Temple (two loyal generals) worship Vo Tanh and Ngo Tung Chau (later also called Chieu Trung Temple).
Over ups and downs years of history, now in the yard of Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden City) and Emperor Palace still remain many vestiges of Champa Kingdom, Tay Son and Nguyen Dynasty. The architectures of periods are interwoven, creating richness and characteristics of the relics.
Emperor Palace is a rectangular architecture, including three rounds outside: Ngoai Palace (outside palace), Noi Palace (inside palace) and Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Palace). Outside palace has a perimeter of 7400m, now the left of wall is from 3-6m high, on the shore of wall in the South also preserve two stone upright 3m, that’s relic of Do Ban Citadel of Champa, till now, we haven’t known the meaning of two stone to the captial Do Ban.
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Female Elephant Statue- Male Elephant Statue- photo: BTPI Center
Inside palace also named Hoang Thanh (golden palace), is a rectangular shape, with a circumference of 1600m, 430m in length and 370m in width. Inside palace was destroy completely, almost nothing, the remaining traces show the wall was built by bee stone and soil, three gates in three directions: South, East, West, main gate to the South called Tien gate (Front gate). In front of Tien gate, there are two elephant statues, one male and one female. The female elephant statue is 1,7m high, 2,2m long, 0,7m wide in static posture, wearing jewelry representing Cham art. The male elephant statue is 2m high, 2,2m long, 1m wide, in the moving posture, its nose as if spit somethong. It is believed that two elephant statues represent statue with the largest size of Champa still exist.
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Lion Statue and Crescent Lake- Photo: BTPI Center
With the remnants, artifacts and architecture left over as well as the value of a citadel that has twice served as the capital role in history, Emperor Palace deserves an interesting destination in the journey through the ancient capital of the country.

Author: Le Chi - BTPI Center

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