Ngo Mon Gate
Ngo Mon (Noon) Gate in Hue
Built by Emperor Gia Long in the year 1823 and situated in front of the Throne Palace and face the Flag Tower, Noon Gate is the dynamic and beautiful main entrance to the Imperial City.
Noon Gate was designed U-shaped with two parts: The below is made of brick, Thanh and Quang stone while the above is made of wood and roofed with tiles. At ground part, the gate has five entrances. The one in the center is used only by the king. On each side are two entrances used by mandarins, soldiers and horses. The upper part is the Ngu Phung Pavilion (Pavilion of Five Phoenixes) in which the king reviewed his troops and subjects under the center hall of the pavilion.
Seeing from above, the pavilion looks like a group of five phoenixes with beaks joining and wings widespread. They create two roofs, two rows each surrounded with a roofed gallery. The middle section of the roof is covered with yellow enameled tiles and others with dark green ones. Along the roof ridges are designs of head-turning dragons, banyan leaves and bats with golden coins. The panels along the eaves are decorated with ceramic mosaics of prunes, chrysanthemum, bamboo and orchid. They are very bright and harmonious, and resistant which was against the rains, typhoons and the passage of time.
The upper storey was provided with wooden partitions and was exclusively made for the Queen Mother and the Emperor’s wives. From here, they could look through windows shaped like circles, gongs or fans, but the blinds prevented them from being seen from the outside.
The lower story was left open except for the middle compartment which is paneled and covered with glass-doors. It was used for Emperors on festive occasions. Behind his seat were a big bell and a large drum to raise the importance of the ceremonies. Moreover, the drum was often used to notice closing-time of the Imperial City. Thanks to this signal, sentries would fire the cannons of the Flag Tower and close, or open the gates of the citadel.
Two Chinese characters which mean “Noon Gate” on the front of this construction had originally been gilded with genuine gold. All structural components such as partitions, columns and banisters are painted red and yellow.
Noon Gate was the place in which the Emperor received homage from his peoples and important ceremonies took place such as: Ceremony of Proclamation of Doctor Lists (successful candidates in the national examination), Calendar Offering Day, etc.
On the side of the road passing the Noon Gate, it has two stone steles inscribed with “Tilt Your Hats and Dismount” reminding passers-by to tilt their hats and get off horses when passing this sanctum.
Despite a long history, Noon Gate it keeps much of its artistic identity and has been recognized as a Cultural World Heritage Site
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