The Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb, also known as Son Lang, is a typical unspoiled rare structure built under the Nguyen Dynasty in the South. It is part of the Sam Mountain Cultural and Historical Site in An Giang Province’s Chau Doc City.
Son Lang is located at the foot of Sam Mountain, besides some other relic sites. What is strange is that it is never really as noisy as other tombs and shrines there. A quiet, dignified and respectful atmosphere prevails over the tomb. Son Lang is dedicated to Nguyen Van Thoai, i.e. Thoai Ngoc Hau, a mandarin of the Nguyen Dynasty, who was appointed by the court to come defending and exploiting An Giang.
He is a mandarin that people in An Giang were ultimately grateful for his great dedication to the province in the years he ruled it. Thoai Ngoc Hau’s merits were enormous and unspeakable. He gathered local people and encouraged them to develop farming. Under his governance, uncultivated and uninhabited areas became lucrative lands. In particular, his greatest work for the south was that he organized digging the two strategic canals of Thoai Ha and Vinh Te which helped boost regional trade and transport.
No one knows when Son Lang was built. But according to history books, he buried his second wife Truong Thi Miet there in 1821 and his first wife Chau Thi Te in 1826. He also reserved a portion for himself between the two tombs of his wives. So, it is predicted that he started to build Son Lang before his death in 1829.
Beyond the gate of Son Lang is the tomb of Thoai Ngoc Hau and his two wives. Next is his majestic and ancient shrine leaning against the cliff. The shrine was skillfully decorated with a 2m-high head-and-shoulder statue of Thoai Ngoc Hau in mandarin clothes solemnly looking out on the Vinh Te Canal.
There are countless other valuable treasures in the shrine such as the horizontal lacquered boards, epitaph, oration and epic poems that praise the virtues of predecessors while highlighting a glorious time of land reclamation.
With its precious values, Son Lang was recognized as a National Historical and Cultural Monument in 1997, which is now one of key destinations in the Sam Mountain Cultural and Historical Site, near the Temple of Sam Mountain Princess (Mieu Ba Chua Xu Nui Sam).
According to the Sam Mountain Cultural and Historical Site management Board, local tourism, trade and site-preservation promotion will be strengthened in the coming time, with a view to promote Chau Doc as an attractive destination in the Mekong Delta.
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