French-style building carries vestiges of the last dynasty

By Kieu Duong   April 21, 2019 | 07:39 pm GMT+7

The Home Affairs Department complex in the Hue Imperial Citadel was said to contain gold treasures though there is no record of them being found.

French architecture carries kings treasure mystery stands strong over a century in Hue (unedited)

The complex was built in 1837 by King Minh Mang, the second emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, reigning from 1820 to 1841.

It was where the management, creation and storage of all kinds of gold, silver and jewelry were done for the Nguyen Dynasty, the last imperial family of Vietnam (1802 -1945).

By 1906 the structure was rebuilt in French style. 

The Hue Imperial Citadel formerly had two French-style buildings, the Kien Trung Temple and the Home Affairs Department Building, but the former was destroyed by bombs in wartime, which left only the foundation remaining. It is now being restored.

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For more than 100 years the Home Affairs Department Building has been used for various purposes. Currently it is used to store props used in art performances in the city and is the headquarters of a business that provides electric vehicle services.

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Staircases leading to the upper floor are on either side of the building. 

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A corridor goes around the second floor. 

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The rooms are large and have several doors each.

The Home Affairs Department Building is still associated with the mystery of the treasures of King Minh Mang. According to the National History Records of the Nguyen Dynasty, in 1885 there were more than 91,000 10-tael silver ingots and nearly 79,000 one-tael silver ingots in the ground floor of the department.

The first and second floors had 500 taels of gold and 700,000 taels of silver. The tael, a Vietnamese measure, equals 37.5 grams. But there is no record of any of the treasures being found.

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The structure has badly deteriorated, revealing the iron beams in the ceiling.

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The front yard of the department seen from the second floor, on the left is the Hien Nhon gate situated on the eastern side of the Hue Imperial Citadel.

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Located next to the main building is an area now known as a place for Hue traditional craft experiences. Souvenirs such as conical hats, lanterns, traditional Vietnamese dresses ao dai, and paper flowers are sold here besides food.

 
 
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