Downgraded Hue temple recalls era of Nguyen Dynasty ancestor worship

 Thai To temple complex, or Temple of Lords, in Hue where nine Nguyen Dynasty lords are worshiped is set to be restored after years of disrepair.

The temple complex, located in the southwest corner of the Imperial Citadel in Hue, was built in 1804 under King Gia Long of Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam's last royal family (1802-1945).

The complex covers an area of 15,000 square meters and is used to worship nine Nguyen lords, ancestors of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors.

Researcher Nguyen Xuan Hoa, former director of Thua Thien-Hue Province's culure and sport department, said the Temple of Lords is the biggest architectural work in the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO heritage site.

In 1947, much of the complex was burned down. In order to have a place to worship the Nguyen Dynasty lords, in 1971, Queen Mother Tu Cung and Prince Bao Long, son of Vietnam's last king Bao Dai, contributed to rebuilding the complex in the same location.

Wooden rafters have been heavily damaged by termites after years of abandonment.

To prevent collapse, Hue Monuments Conservation Center reinforced the complex interior with a system of iron piles.

For safety, the nine Nguyen lord altars were temporarily relocated to Trieu To Temple located behind the complex.

Trieu To Temple serves to worship Nguyen Kim, father of Nguyen Hoang, the first of the Nguyen lords to rule the southern provinces between 1558 and 1613.

The complex is closed to tourists for safety reasons.

Hue is home to royal tombs, ancient palaces and pagodas that attract millions of foreign visitors every year.

Broken windows inside the complex.

A lonely, rusted incense burner decorates the courtyard.

Vo Le Nhat, director of Hue Monuments Conservation Center, said the center is seeking cultural experts and architects to restore the deteriorating relic.

The cost for the project is estimated at VND265 billion ($11.48 million).

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