Tinh Tam lake

Update9/22/2022 3:32:05 PM
Tinh Tam lake is one of the most well-known landscapes of Hue Imperial city. It is now located at Dong Ba ward, Hue city. Tinh Tam lake used to be a part of the Kim Long river. It was later renovated and named Ky Te pond. In 1822 (under the reign of Emperor Minh Mang), 8000 soldiers joined in renovating Ky Te pond. Then, the lake was renamed as Tinh Tam and became an imperial park.

This rectangular lake covers the total perimeter of nearly 1500m. There are three islands, which are considered as the center of the lake. They are Bong Lai, Phuong Truong and Doanh Chau. To the south of Tinh Tam lake locates Bong Lai island, on which Bong Doanh palace was built. This three-compartments two-wing structure is roofed with glazed tile and surrounded by brick railing. In front of the palace, there is Bong Doanh gate and Bong Doanh bridge connecting the island with the southern lake bank. To the east of Bong Doanh palace, there is Thanh Tam house which faces the east. To the west of the palace locates Trung Luyen pavilion, which faces the west. To the north of the palace, there are a gate and a bridge sharing the same name, Hong Cu.

On Phuong Truong island, there is a two-story pavilion which faces the south and is roofed with glazed tile. To the south, there are Bich Tao gate and Bich Tao bridge. To the north of the island locates Tinh Tam pavilion which faces the north. To the east of the island locates Hao Nhien house (later renamed as Thien Nhien house in 1848) which faces the east. To the west of the island locates Duong Tinh which faces the west. Tu Dat temple was built at the middle of these two islands linking Bich Tao bridge in the south with Hong Cu bridge in the north.

There is a flood bank called Kim Oanh connecting the east and the west of the lake. To the east of the lake locates Luc Lieu bridge with three compartments and tiled roof. A fifty-six-compartment corridor is constructed in the south while  Bach Tan bridge was at the middle. To the south of the bridge, there is Thanh Tuoc house where Emperor's boats are stored. At the end of the corridor, there is a Khuc Ta house which is connected with another house called Khuc Ta Ha Phong by a corridor on the water surface. To the north of this house is Doanh Chau island.

On both Bong Lai and Phuong Truong islands, there are mountain miniatures placed at corners. Doanh Chau island looks like a large mountain miniature on the lake surface. Many kinds of flower were planted around Bong Lai island, Phuong Truong island, Kim Oanh flood bank and along the lake. However, only white lotus is grown on the lake.

Tinh Tam lake was surrounded by a pretty high wall. There are four gates built on this wall i.e. Ha Xuan (south), Dong Hy (north), Xuan Quang (east) and Thu Nguyet (west).

With its ornate yet natural architecture, Tinh Tam lake was considered as a typical art architecture in Vietnam in the late 19th century. Many famous poems written by Nguyen Emperors such as Minh Mang, Thieu Tri and Tu Duc were inspired by Tinh Tam lake. "Tinh ho ha hung" is one of the 20 poems of Emperor Thieu Tri describing the beauty of the ancient Capital. The poem and Tinh Tam lake were found on mirror paintings hung at palaces.

Since the late 19th century, parts of Tinh Tam lake were degraded. In 1946, a lower wall was built as a replacement for the original wall. In 1960, an octagon temple was constructed on the former position of Bong Doanh palace. At the same time, a concrete bridge was built between Bong Lai island and Kim Oanh flood bank.

Tinh Tam lake was a fresh space in Hue city, a favorite destination of Hue locals.

Tinh Tam lake was recognized as national relic (art architecture) on decision 99/2004/QD-BVHTT dated December 15th, 2004 of Ministry of Culture and Information.

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