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Tiger Arena Hue Introduction
Built in the early 19th century under the Minh Mang emperor reign, Tiger Arena Hue is a unique ancient history witness. This was the place where tigers and elephants fought until death.
Tiger Arena Hue Location
Just about 5 kilometers to the West of Hue city. The Tiger Arena Hue belongs to the Long Tho Hill area, Thuy Bieu ward. This is considered to be the “unique” arena not only in Vietnam but also in Asia.
More than 100 years ago, this place has been the survival battle between two powerful animals. However, through many variations of time and war, the relic is now heavily damaged.
Tiger Arena Hue Structure
The Tiger arena Hue is an uncovered roof round construction with the inter wall is 5.9 m tall, the outer ring wall 4.75 m. The outer wall diameter is 145 m, the outer diameter of the basin is 44 m. Construction materials with fine brick, bluestone, and lime mortar.
The emperor seat is on the Northside and higher and wider than the surrounding. To the left of the auditorium is a 24-level ladder system for the emperor and high-level mandarins. On the right, there are other similar level systems built for officials and soldiers.
From this auditorium to the opposite side, it’s easy to recognize the 5 stable tiger cages located right in the heart of the arena. The door system at the Tiger Arena is the wooden doors closed and opened by pulling the rope from the top down. Inside the tiger cages, there are many scratches are on the walls.
According to Mr. Ho Tan Phan, a culture researcher of Hue, Hue Tiger Arena is a unique architectural arena not only in Vietnam but also in the world; regardless of scale, it is not comparable to the famous Colosseum (Italy). “In the world from the ancient to present there has been no Dynasty in history building an arena for the duel between tigers and elephants,” Ho Tong Phan said.
The Fighting Ceremony
The etiquette of the duel between elephants and tigers was very formal. On the day of the duel, the locals had to burn incense and hung the flags. Around the Tiger Arena Hue was full of flags. Soldiers wearing red-painted hats, holding the curfew standing on the side of the street from the arena to the river bank. Throughout this passage, people had to cover flower matres to welcome the emperor.
At noon, the emperor took the dragon boat to Long tho Wharf. When the boat overcame the river, the emperor was covering four golden parasols. Go ahead was the royal guards, then, 3 levels of soldiers with flags and swords; next is the royal court-music team. The mandarins knelt down on the flower matres along the way and followed the emperor to the middle gate to the auditorium.
The fight to the death in the area between elephants and tigers took place once a year. The Nguyen emperor was the organizer, who is also the controller; as well as the enthusiastic spectators to cheer for the fight until the Elephants killed the tiger.
According to history books, the fights are not only casual entertainment but also derive from the need to train the warrior; the elephants were a very sharp weapon in the army of the dynasty as well as to encourage the spirit of learning kungfu among the people.