Nam Giao Esplanade is a high ground area in the suburb in the south of the imperial capital, in the past, kings prayed the god there. Nguyen Dynasty Nam Giao Esplanade is the place where the Nguyen kings held the ceremony to pray for the country peacefully and prosperously in spring every year. This is the only Nam Giao Esplanade still present (despite not being intact) in Vietnam, and is the only praying esplanade that exists among many ancient esplanades in Hue.
Nguyen Dynasty Nam Giao Esplanade located in Truong An Ward, Hue City was built in the center of a rectangular campus of 10 hectares on March 25, 1806. After completion, King Gia Long first held a praying ceremony here on March 27, 2807. The Nam Giao Esplanade consists of 3 floors:
-The top floor is round shaped, called Vien Dan, symbolizing sky. It has the diameter of 40.5m, the height of 2.8m. There is the guardrail around, the height of 0.8m, the thick of 0.3m, and painted blue. The floor is covered with brick and has 28 stone blocks so that each time there is a ceremony, they are put on pillars which are covered with blue cloth. This floor is called Thanh Oc (blue building). Four sides of the floor have step systems; the southern system has 15 steps; the systems of the other three sides have 9 steps. This is the place where the main ritual activities take place in Nam Giao praying ceremony.
-The middle floor is Phuong Dan, being square shaped, symbolizing the earth. The floor has each side of 83m and the height of 2.7m; the guardrail has the height of 0.9m, the thick of 0.3m, and painted yellow. When having the ceremony, people cover yellow cloth. Four sides of the floor have step systems; each system has 5 steps. The floor is called Hoang Oc (Yellow Building). Phuong Dan, under Nguyen Dynasty, was the place where kings pray gods of sun, moon, stars, cloud, rain, wind, thunder, year, month, mountain, river and so on.
-The bottom floor symbolizes for human beings. It is square shaped, the side of 165m; the guardrail has the height of 0.93m, the thick of 0.3m, and painted red. The front of the floor is put two rows of stone blocks, each row has 6 blocks in order to put umbrellas. Fours sides have step systems.
Nguyen Dynasty Nam Giao Esplanade with three overlapping floors and different colors symbolizes the “Tam Tai” philosophy of the east. “Tam Tai” means Thien-Đia-Nhan. Thien means not only the sky but also the God (or the Creator), Dia means not only the earth but also the Earth Goddess, Nhan means human beings. The life of human beings thanks to not only themselves but also Thien and Dia.
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