Situated in the Forbidden City, just inside the Citadel’s entryway, this palace was constructed in 1805 and first used for the emperor’s coronation in 1806. It later served as the meeting place between royalty and commoners, as well as for signing ceremonies and announcements of new laws. Visitors can cross the Trung Dao Bridge, over Thai Dich pond, into the Great Rites Court, where the emperor once received foreign ambassadors and conducted important international meetings. Stand at the exact center of the palace, where the royal throne was placed—and hear whispers from anywhere in the building, just as the emperor did when he held court.
According to many researchers, the name “Thai Hoa” bears a profound philosophic meaning that refers the supreme harmony between yin and yang, between human beings and the nature. Based on this concept, once our life achieves the harmony, all the relationships in the universe can be strongly developed in peace and prosperity. This can be seen as the target or task of Nguyen kings during their reign.
Built in 1805, Thai Hoa palace is a typical royal architecture in style of “double houses on one foundation” decorated with enamelled bronzeware, gilding and lacquer. Main decorative patterns of the palace are dragons and clouds together with many symbolic ornaments inside and outside of the building. This palace also houses the throne of all Nguyen kings and a splendid 9-dragon gilded canopy above the throne.
In front of the palace, there is a yard called Salutation Court where all mandarins stood in the Grand Audience ceremony held two times a month. Apart from the Grand Audience ceremony, other important ceremonies were also organized at Thai Hoa palace. Among them were the Coronation ceremony, the royal Birthday Anniversary, etc.
Thai Hoa palace had been renovated several times since the first construction, noticeably the renovations in 1833 and 1923. In these two big changes, the location of Thai Hoa palace was slightly moved in the former, the glass doors and gilded canopy are the most remarkable results in the latter.
By its magnificent location on the main axis of Hue Imperial City and various symbolic meanings in architectural decoration, Thai Hoa palace is the most typical construction of Hue royal architecture in terms of historical, cultural and art values.
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