Hue, a city in central Vietnam and also once the capital of Vietnam, is chosen to be the first place to visit in Vietnam by many foreign tourists. It is the place to take a glimpse of Vietnam’s history with many antique buildings and tombs of Kings and royals. Among many interesting places in Hue, the Royal Fine Arts Museum will surely spark off your trip as one of the earliest and largest museums in Hue.
- Location: 3 Le Truc street, Phu Hau district, Hue city, Thua Thien Hue
Opening hours: 7:00 am - 5:30 pm
Entrance fee: VND 150.000/ adult; VND 30.000/ children.
1. History of The Royal Fine Arts Museum
Hue was the capital city for almost 150 years during feudal times, from 1802 to 1945. On 24th August 1923, a decree was issued by King Khai Dinh about opening a museum that was first called as Musee’ Khai Dinh. The purpose of this museum is clearly defined.
For example, the fine arts works would reflect the talents of a country, describing political and daily events, social activities, and rituals,… The name of the museum has gone through 5 changes before it was finally called the Royal Fine Arts Museum until now. Since its establishment, it took the responsibility for reviving generations of hundreds of artisans who had contributed to build up the Hue royal court. Now, the museum is under the administration of the Hue Monuments Conservation Center.
2. What To See in The Royal Fine Arts Museum?
The Royal Fine Arts Museum is situated inside Long An palace which is known as one of the most existing beautiful palaces in Vietnam. It covers an area of up to 6.330 square meters.
The main showroom is called Long An palace. This building was built in 1845 under King Thieu Tri. Displaying the antiques, it is in the middle of the museum with an area of 1.200 square meters. Inside and outside Long An palace, you can find up to 16 collections with more than 300 items in different materials like gold, glazed terra-cotta, and porcelain. There are many royal antiquities that were used to serve Kings and the royals in the Nguyen dynasty.
Long An Palace consists of 7 compartments, 2 annexes, and 128 pillars made of timbers. Every wooden part is beautifully carved with Vietnamese scenery, and the four sacred animals including dragon, lion, tortoise, and phoenix. You also can find over 1000 poems in Chinese scripts. Among these, there are 2 special poems which were composed by King Thieu Tri.
Many antique poetic and painting works, literary pieces, historical stories, and the Kings’ rules, … can be found here. It is a great source to get a deeper insight into Vietnamese history under the Nguyen dynasty as well as understand more about the 3 Nguyen Kings: Minh Mang, Thieu Tri, and Tu Duc. Long An palace is truly a wonderful combination of poems, paintings, and architecture that are clearly shown through meticulous woodne carvings.
The art works of the Kings and Nguyen royal families were made on many available materials like gold, silver, glass, stone, jade, leather, fabris, wooden, paper,… These items are well preserved to display in this museum. In addition, you can admire 80 objects of the Cham ethnic minority that were found 100 years ago in the ancient capital – Tra Kieu and O and Ly areas. They are considered the valuable objects of the world in general and the Far East in particular. Besides, you can also find a folding screen that was painted by the most talented painters 70 years ago. This shows the pictures of nearly 78 Hue women on the Ao Dai in different colors and designs.
Outside of Long An palace, tourists will be surprised at the collection of 30 cannons made around 200 years ago in different types. Besides, there are also a fine collection of stone stelaes and statues from Le Dynasty to Nguyen Dynasty. Some of them are more than 500 years old. However, the most impressive and significant collection would be the one of large bronze cauldrons, bells, pots and urns.
3. Activities of The Museum
The Hue Royal Fine Arts Museum has 16 display spots and preserves more than 10.000 artifacts. With its reputation, it has held many exhibitions, attracting the interest of both local and foreign tourists. For example, the 100th Anniversary of An Dinh Residence, One Destination – 5 Heritages, Capitals of Vietnam through Historical Periods, and Exhibition on Country names,…
To serve the visitors better, the Royal Fine Arts Museum has planned to organize plenty of community-based activities. In summer, children coming here will have a chance to paint pictures of Hue and play royal games in the front garden of Long An Palace. On these occasions, children are often excited to ask about the objects on display.
Hue Royal Fine Arts Museum is planning to build a special space for holding community activities. This will surely help to bridge the gap between the public and the museum and provide people better understanding about royal life.
3. How to Get to Royal Fine Arts Museum
There are many different types of transportation to get to Hue city. The most popular option is booking a flight to Phu Bai airport which is just 15 km from Hue city. After that, you can take a taxi ride to the place which normally costs around VND 180.000. Or to save your money, you can take the bus for only VND 40.000.
Besides, travelling by train to Hue city is also a great way. Though it takes a lot more time to Hue, it will bring you a better experience in Vietnam. You can see many beautiful places and go through different provinces of Vietnam.
4. Travel Tips
- The museum is also called the Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities. This makes some tourists assume the objects are at minimum pre-date the Middle Ages. However, the collection here contains fine objects from post 1802 Nguyen Dynasty.
- Bringing cameras or taking pictures are not allowed in the museum.
- You can surely combine this place and the Imperial Enclosure as well as the Perfume River in a 1-day itinerary.
So if you have time visiting Hue, don’t miss your chance to visit the Royal Fine Arts Museum – one of the very first museums in Vietnam. The journey of exploring a part of Vietnamese history is waiting for you.