A closer look at controversy-ridden H'mong royal palace

By Ngoc Thanh   August 27, 2018 | 02:22 pm GMT+7

The palace of H'mong kings Vuong Chinh Duc and Vuong Chi Thanh was built between 1898 and 1903 and became a national relic over time.

A closer look at controversy-ridden Hmong royal palace

Located in Sa Phin Valley of moutainous Ha Giang province's Dong Van District, 10 hours north of Hanoi, the palace was the seat of the H’mong kings who ruled over the region during the French colonial era up until Vietnam regained independence in 1945. The monarchy was abolished after Thanh died in 1962.

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On the two sides of the entrance are lines of majestic 100 year-old and cunninghamia trees, while the path is laced with large stone slabs.

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The grand entrance was used only by the king in the past. To build this palace, the Vuong royal family hired the best builders from China and among their people. The construction took eight years and cost 15,000 silver coins (equivalent to VND150 billion or $6.5 million at that time).

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The palace consists of six two-storied houses with a total of 64 rooms, all connected to each other. The architecture was in Qing Dynasty style, with green pebbles, pine woods and terra-cotta tiles being the main building materials.

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The main features of the palace are its stone walls, wooden pillars, and a variety of tiles on the roof decorated with Chinese writing.

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The low rock walls are connected together by sugarcane. Yes, sugarcane! The palace was recognized as a national relic in 1993 and has become a tourist attraction of the Dong Van Highlands ever since.

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Before the August Revolution, Vuong Chinh Duc was the richest man in the area thanks to drug dealing. Sa Phin Commune served as a trafficking hub for Myanmar, China and the Indochina region. There are many poppy plant-shaped decorations in the palace.

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A room contains pictures of generations of the royal family.

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There are storage rooms for food, drugs, weapons, and equipment as well.

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The kitchen, water tanks and stables are situated outside.

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The palace is surrounded by a 2.5 meters high and 60 centimeters thick rock wall.

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The picture shows the royal cemetery.

Vuong Duy Bao, grandson of King Vuong Chi Thanh and the successor of Vuong Chinh Duc, recently wrote to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asking for the right to use the palace to be returned to his family.

After being recognized as a national relic, the palace was taken over by the Dong Van District's culture department.

Following local media's intensive coverage on the controversial story, Ha Giang late last week announced that the province has decided to take back the Hmong palace from the culture department and could return it to the royal family.

Tran Duc Quy, deputy head of the Ha Giang People’s Committee, said the handing over of the palace, putatively belonging to descendants of the last H’mong King Vuong Chi Sinh (or Vuong Chi Thanh, 1886-1962), to the Dong Van District's culture department in 2012 was illegal.

 
 
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