Vietnam Travel Guide

The Nine Holy Cannons – The Generals of Hue Citadel

Vietnam is a hero nation. This fact was proved by many historic witnesses. One of the witnesses to the period of national construction and defense is the weapon. Although the weapon of Vietnamese military is rudimentary, they played an important part in the victory of our nation. However, if you have chance to go on a Hue City Tour, you will see that Vietnamese weapon also majestic.

The Nine Holy Cannons – The Generals of Hue Citadel - Journey Vietnam

History of a General

In Nguyen Dynasty, cannon was considered a modern weapon. In some historical documents, thanks to the power of the cannons, Emperor Gia Long gained the victory in the important battles.

Therefore, after defeating Tay Son Dynasty, Emperor Gia Long ordered the craftsmen and gathered all bronze weapons to cast the nine cannons as a forever memory of his victory. At the same time, the cannons would be used if the war had broken out. The nine cannons were casted from February, 1803 to January, 1804 by the workers of Industrial Ministry and soldiers of Military Ministry. The nine bronze cannons were decorated sophisticatedly and had the largest size. They were conferred the title General or “The Nine Holy Cannons” by Emperor Gia Long.

The Nine Holy Cannons were first displayed in a row in front of Ngo Mon Gate. Nowadays, four cannons are adjacent to The Nhon Gate (Ngan Gate) and five ones are next to Quang Duc Gate (Sap Gate), which are two gate of Hue Citadel.

Four of the Nine Holy Cannon were named after 4 seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and five of them represent five vital elements: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, Earth.

To respect this treasure, the sacrifice to the Nine Holy Cannons is still offered following the royal ceremony. The soldiers are neatly dressed, hold spears and stand around the cannons. In the mist of the incense, the sound of the bells and music is the rhythm of the worship. After that, people set fire to the cracker next to the nine cannons to remind the brilliant feat of history.

Don’t miss the chance to enjoy the atmosphere of this ceremony when you have tours in Vietnam.

Description of the General

The heaviest of the nine cannons have the weight of 18.400kg. And the lightest weighs 17.200kg. The total weight of bronze used to make the nine cannons was 140.300kg. Each is propped up on a wooden gun carriage which was precisely sculptured with the images of five-claw dragon. Two sides of the carriage are 4 wooden wheels with iron edges for moving. It is 900kg per carriage.

The weight of the Nine Holy Cannons was measured in kilogram according to the ancient measurement of Vietnam. Each cannon was weighed and the weight was carved on its body.

The first – Spring weighs 17.700kg.

The second – Summer weighs 17.200kg.

The third – Autumn weighs 18.400kg.

The fourth – Winter weighs 17.800kg.

The fifth – Wood weighs 17.000kg.

The sixth – Fire weighs 17.200kg

The seventh – Earth weighs 18.800kg.

The eight – Metal weighs 17.600kg.

The nine – Water weights 17.200kg.

The Nine Holy Cannons

Besides the historical values, the Nine Holy Cannons also have the artistic values and reflect the high level of bronze casting, bronze sculpture and decoration art. The engravings on the cannons and the gun carriages show the skillful and talented hands of the craftsmen. The Nine Holy Cannons are both the enormous cannons in Vietnam and the most valuable works of art.

In 2012, the Nine Holy Cannons was recognized as one of National Treasures by National Heritage Council. To admire this stately relics, come to Hue, the best destination in Vietnam

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