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Vietnam’s only ancient observatory excavated

The Center for Preservation of Hue Relics has made an archaeological survey at Quan Tuong Dai, the observatory of the Nguyen Dynasty and the only ancient observatory remained in Vietnam. 

The remaining foundations of Bat Phong, where mandarins stood to observe the weather [Credit: Vietnam net]
Quan Tuong Dai is located on Nam Minh fortress, to southwestern Hue citadel. This used to be the hydro-meteorological observatory of the Nguyen Dynasty. King Minh Mang ordered to build Bat Phong house in 1827. Together with the retrogression of the Nguyen Dynasty, this observatory stopped operation. It is now a ruin. This is the sole observatory of the feudal time left in Vietnam. 

Rock-cut staircases carved with Chinese scripts [Credit: Vietnam net]
Being permitted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Center for Preservations of Hue Relics implemented archaeological surveys at this site since April 2012. 

Part of Bat Phong house [Credit: Vietnam net]
They dug up three holes for excavation, in order to study the restructure and the foundation of the observatory. They found out that the original foundation was built by bricks from Hanoi’s ancient pottery village of Bat Trang. The Bat Phong is defined as an octagon building, with rather intact foundation. 

Stone pillars [Credit: Vietnam net]
There are holes for water drainage on the foundation and they are 12-14cm higher than the surrounding yard. The major materials to build this work include wooden-hammer bricks, several kinds of rock, Bat Trang bricks, tiles, lime, etc. 

Based on the survey, the observatory will be preserved. 

Source: Vietnam net [May 29, 2012]

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