Over a century of existence, the An Hien Garden House indeed retains almost intact the ancient beauty. So stepping through the brown wooden gate, you seem to stray into a peaceful place where time has stopped for hundreds of years.
An Hien Garden House – The hundred-year-old historical values
If traditional garden houses are one of the unique cultural heritages of Hue ancient capital, An Hien Garden House is the most typical place among the gardens that still exist today.
Located at 58 Nguyen Phuc Nguyen Street, Hue City, An Hien Garden House is in a favorable position on the historic Kim Long land, on the north bank of Huong River, not far from Hue citadel. Like many other buildings here, An Hien Garden House has a view of the poetic Huong River.
In detail about the prosperous Kim Long land, in the middle of the 17th century, after being chosen by Lord Nguyen Phuc Lan to be an excellent place to build the capital of Đàng Trong, this land was a luxurious place with many prominent buildings.
At that time, the missionary Alexandre de Rhodes wrote: “Outside the palace, there were beautiful houses of the princes and mandarins, with carved rafters and the surrounding gardens everywhere.” That is the appearance of the garden in Kim Long in the first half of the 1640s.
By the time of the Nguyen Kings (1802-1945), more and more royal officials chose Kim Long to locate their garden house due to beautiful landscape, historical value, and a reasonable distance to the royal palace.
100 years of exsitence
The 18th princess of King Duc Duc was the first owner of An Hien garden house in the late 19th century. After many ups and downs, the house still retains its beauty, a beautiful blend of nobility and traditional folk.
Over many times of changing names and owners, in 1936, Mr. Nguyen Dinh Chi the governor of Ha Tinh province was the next owner of this An Hien Garden House.
Mr. Nguyen Dinh Chi and his wife, Mrs. Dao Thi Xuan Yen – who used to be the principal of Dong Khanh High School for Women – were all of the most prestigious in society, had extensive relationships, so An Hien became a frequented place by many officials and intellectual elites.
Not to mention the family of Governor Nguyen Dinh Chi is the longest-standing and most devoted people to preserve the ancient beauty of the garden house. So there is a time that An Hien old garden house was known as the name: Mrs. Tuan Chi garden house.
Feng shui harmony of the An Hien Garden House
Over a century of existence, An Hien garden houses still preserve almost intact the ancient beauty inherent. The garden is pretty square, with an area of 4.608m 2, planned and built according to the principles of the traditional architecture of the East in general and Hue in particular.
The entrance is a small porch which made of stucco bricks. It has an elegant appearance under the green shade of the ancient trees. On both sides of the gate, there are two rows of white apricot, creating a serene and profound impression.
In front of the yard, there is an ancient folding screen, with the word Tho in the middle, and the two letters Song Hy on two sides. In the back, there is a large pond with water lilies and lotuses and many ornamental plants around. It does express not only the elements of feng shui in architecture but also increases the aesthetic value for the project.
In the garden, generations of owners have planted dozens of perennial plants, taking seeds from all three regions of the North, Central, South, and hundreds of precious flowers, alternately blooming four seasons. Each flower and tree species in each position has a specific meaning, expressing the concept of the life of Hue people.
An Hien garden house has three compartments and two wings, with exemplary structure, carvings, and interior decoration. The primary function of this house is to worship and entertain guests.
The roof is covered with multi-layer tiles with dragon motifs and lotus decoration so that the house appears elegant and noble. The wood material of the entire rafters system is entire of jackfruit wood, exquisitely carved from the hands of the most talented artisans in Hue.
The previous owners had decorated the house with precious wooden furniture, tea cabinets, and altars. In the house, there are also many diaphragm, sentences with artistic value and deep moral meaning.
In particular, the house still holds many precious memorabilia of the Nguyen Kings, such as the royal diaphragm ‘Van Vo Trung Hieu” of King Bao Dai in 1937, Thanh Thai King’s poems, etc.
Garden of four seasons with fruits
Not only historical and architectural value, but An Hien garden house also has a treasured landscape. It is the most beautiful old garden house in Hue today. The scenery of the house is very poetic, always serene with fruit trees.
Many rows of trees, which are dozens of years old, were brought in from all regions of the country. Such as apricots, persimmons, lychees of the North, plum mango, strawberry, fig..of the Central; dragon fruit, mangosteen, durian … typical of the South.
Notably, in the garden, there are Tien Dien sapodilla trees, which Mr. Nghi Mai – great-grandchild of Great poet Nguyen Du brought from Nghi Xuan – Ha Tinh. There are also 13 stems of mangosteen in Giang Chau – a famous King of Hue fruits.
In conclusion, An Hien garden house is a cultural address, an exciting destination of Hue. In addition to visiting the garden, you can also enjoy the Hue folk show. The entrance ticket price here is 35,000 VND.