Located near Thien Mu Pagoda, An Hien Garden House has outstanding architectural, historic and cultural values and is well worth a visit.
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Location, Opening Hours & Tickets
The Architecture of An Hien Garden House
An Hien – A Little Museum of History & Culture
LOCATION, OPENING HOURS & TICKETS
Address: 58 Nguyen Phuc Nguyen street, Huong Long ward, Hue city
Opening time: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Entrance ticket: 50,000 VND/ person
TRADITIONAL BALANCED ARCHITECTURE
Despite the long years and the ups and downs of history, An Hien Garden House is still a remarkable building that has stood the test of time.
Being located across the Perfume River gives the garden house good feng shui, meaning it is in harmony with its surroundings. In Vietnam and other Asian cultures, a house with good feng shui will give its occupants good fortune. The entrance is a small archway made out of mortar bricks which leads straight into the garden. Along the entrance stand two lines of apricot trees intertwined together and providing green shade down the path. Turn left and pass the old screen to find a rectangular lake completely covered by water lilies, lotus flowers and surrounding plants.
Located almost in the center, the main house includes three compartments and two lean-tos, with all the indoor frame structures made of wood. Delicate carved sculpted patterns surround the main column and the house’s rafter system. The tiles on the roof are laminated with dragons flanking the sides and the middle of the rooftop is decorated with a lotus. The ancient furniture in the house is also an impressive feature, while right in front of the main house is a small pond full of water lilies. This latter feature is not only for decoration but also acts as a natural air-conditioner, making the weather cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
Most of the space of An Hien Garden House is covered by the trees, bringing the flavors of all four seasons. Various kinds of fruits are grown here like lychee, mangosteen, durian, jackfruit, and dragon fruit. Several trees in the garden are dozens of years old. The main feature of the garden house is the balanced combination between human and nature, making it an enchanting place to be in.
A LITTLE MUSEUM OF HISTORY & CULTURE
As one of the most famous garden houses in Hue and designed in the typical architectural style of the city, An Hien Garden House’s beauty reflects the aristocratic and traditional essences of the city. Over a century in existence, An Hien remains the same in both landscape and architecture.
The garden house witnessed the historic changes of Hue city and has been inhabited by many princesses, mandarins and upper-class elites over the centuries.
Originally, An Hien Garden House was built as the palace of the 18th princess of King Duc Duc. In 1895, Pham Dang Khanh, grandson of Thai Empress Dowager Tu Du (Pham Thi Hang) began to consolidate An Hien Garden House. In 1920, Khanh sold the entire garden house to Kham Diep. Sixteen years later, Kham Diep’s son sold An Hien Garden House to Nguyen Dinh Chi, the head of Ha Tinh province. In 1940, Dao Thi Xuan Yen, who is Dinh Chi’s wife, began to manage and take care of the garden house until she died in 1997. This is the place where Mr. and Mrs. Dinh Chi received hundreds of domestic and foreign guests when they visited or worked in Hue.
Currently, An Hien Garden House is owned by Silk Path Hotels & Resorts. It has been restored but retains the identity and architecture of Vietnam’s imperial capital.
Entering An Hien Garden House is like entering Hue’s culture itself. The garden house is akin to a “cultural museum” with many precious memorabilia and artifacts of the Nguyen Dynasty and the aristocrats. The ancient bibliographies, ordinances, diplomas and poems carved on precious wood materials, mother-of-pearl inlays, non-couplets and tureen banners have all been carefully preserved, giving visitors an insight into days gone by.
The garden house has retained its tranquil and peaceful beauty throughout the years. Visiting is a truly relaxing experience in a peaceful and quietly beautiful setting.