Hue is known as a city of gardens and garden houses which harmoniously blend the calculation of human architecture with the randomness of nature.
They are a unique expression of the cultural values of Vietnam’s former imperial city. In recent years, these garden houses have become increasingly popular with tourists.
The garden houses stand on both banks of the Perfume River. These houses are surrounded by lush, well-trimmed gardens. Visiting these houses, you’ll find yourself in nature with fresh air and a calm atmosphere. This is the most soothing stop after touring the city.
Nguyen Van Thanh, a resident in Hue City, said "Hue garden houses were previously called ruong houses. They were built of wood or stone by carpenters and builders from the northern and central region. Their architecture is a perfect marriage between the popular and the royal architecture”.
An Hien (House of Peace) is the most beautiful and best known in Hue. Nestled in a 5,000-square-meter garden, it overlooks the Perfume River. The road to the house is 34 m long and is bordered by white apricot trees. The house was built on the principles of Oriental geomancy.
Nguyen Thi Thach, who takes care of the house, reveals the secrets of this place, said "Like other ancient houses in Hue, a screen was installed at the entrance of the house to drive away evil spirits. There’s a pool in the house to ensure a harmony between yin and yang for the house. The house is built on wooden pillars without using iron nails, steel or cement”.
The house has changed owner several times. Before 1895, the house was the private residence of one of the daughters of King Duc Duc. It was bought in 1936 by Nguyen Dinh Chi, the governor of Ha Tinh province. After his death, his wife Dao Thi Xuan Yen was responsible for its maintenance until she died in 1997. Thanks to her, An Hien became a cultural magnet of the former imperial capital of Hue. The house is now owned by Yen’s daughter-in-law Phan Hoang Thi Oanh and four grandchildren who now live in France.
Nguyen Thi Thach said "The house is open to visitors and admission is free. I am pleased to see so many visitors coming, especially in summer. I wake up early, around 5:00 am to go to the market and clean the house. Although it is more than 100 year olds, the house is still almost intact".
Both the interior and exterior of An Hien garden house are intricately carved. The main room of the house contains an altar consecrated to the owner’s ancestors. The two wing rooms serve as living rooms. There are a number of objects dating back to the Nguyen dynasty.
The landscaping and décor of Hue garden houses reflect a harmony of man and nature, a balance of spiritual and material life. They are the embodiment of Hue’s culture and soul.
An Hien, one of the most famous garden houses in Hue today
This garden house is more than 4,000sq.m.
An Hien ancient house
The house is more than 100 years old.
Then entrance fee is VND20,000/person.
Another garden house in Hue
The garden at King Minh Mang tomb.