This place is located south of the Hue Citadel. The walkway is through the greenery, tranquilly appeasing foliage and serene pine trees. Mandarins and other couriers were commended to keep this place looking healthy back in the day. This was a central point for the Royal Emperor to offer blessings and gifts to the Gods. The terraces were built to represent the creations of God. These are the creations of Heaven, Earth and Mankind.
As the Emperor under God, only the ruler could say what and wasn’t accepted during these visits. A ceremony for the Gods took place every three years, to make offerings and sacrifices to the heavens. These ceremonies continued until the fall of the Imperial Dynasty in 1945. They would have main shows of offering plus parties and dances dedicated to the heavens. The local people would benefit greatly from these ceremonies. Favours would be given to loyal courtiers and workers, and other gifts and pardons were given to the public. It was generally a three-day event which took up to seven months to prepare.
The top esplanade is circular and paved with circular holes. A blue tent would be set up of days of the offering. This was a gift to heaven. The square terrace below was a symbol of the Earth and was given the colour yellow to present offerings. The red symbolized man and was the lowest esplanade, which is the red square. Structures such as the fasting palace, for abstinence, the divine kitchen, for the sacrifice of animals and divine storage, to keep the gifts of offering, are surrounding the esplanade.
This is a location embedded with stowed beliefs and is rooted deep in spirituality. Emperors would permit and order a unique amount of activities to offer to the Gods. These rituals were completed with the hope the Emperor would attain prosperity and fortune for himself and his people. You can’t see the evidence today. Though this happened and is considered a spiritual monument and is one of the most important altars in the Nguyen Dynasty. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Complex of Hue Monuments.
The Nam Giao Esplanade is located at Truong An, Thanh Pho Hue, Thua Thien Hue. Opening hours are 08:00-17:00. Admission is free.