Over the middle compartment hangs a carved
board with big Chinese characters "Thai Hoa Dien" (Palace of Supreme Harmony).
Inside is the throne, covered by a golden canopy with brocaded circular dragon designs.
Above each compartment hangs a colorful glass-sided hexagonal or octagonal lantern. In
1839, in an attempt to adorn this historic monument, Emperor Minh Mang ordered the
framework to be lacquered red and gold. It was later supplied with European-styled paving
by Emperor Thanh Thai, in 1899, and colored glass door on front and back sides by Emperor
Khai Dinh , in 1923. (It was originally left open and shaded with blinds only). The
interior decorations include some jugs and other antiques. On the court stands a line of
carved pedestals, each with a vase for rare plants. Constructors of the Throne Palace have
succeeded masterly in creating two contradictory features: cool in summer and warm in
winter. From the throne in the center, one can also distinctively hear sounds made
anywhere in the palace. Of this phenomenon, no researcher in acoustics or architecture
could ever give an exact explanation.
The great court in front of the palace,
known as the Great Rites Court (or Esplanade of Great Salutation), is paved with Thanh
stones and consists of two terraces: the upper was reserved for high-ranking civil and
military mandarins. On both sides of the court are two rows of small steles called Pham
Son showing the positions mandarins should take according to their ranks.
The lower terrace, beside the Trung
Dao (Central Path) Bridge, is for elders and village authorities in ceremonial occasions.
At both corners of the court stand two bronze Kylins. Kylin is traditionally a harbinger
of peace and a reminder of ritual solemnity.
Between Noon Gate and the court is
the Thai Dich Lake(Grand Liquid Lake), dug in 1833 and spanned by the Trung Dao
(Central Path)Bridge. The bridge, secured by iron banisters, connects the two monuments.
At both ends we find a gateway elaborately carved with five-clawed dragon designs in high
relie.f (dragons among clouds on bronze columns). Though symmetrically built, the two
columns with two dragons, one slithering down and one soaring up really create an
The Throne Palace is the site where solemn
ceremonies took place such as: the Coronation Day, the Crown Prince Coronation Day, the
Ambassador Receiving Ceremony, Emperor's Birthday Anniversaries, etc. Great meetings were
held here twice a month while regular ones took place in the Can Chanh Palace (Palace of
Audiences) behind the Great Golden Gate.
The Palace was seriously damaged in 1968
during the American bombings. Typhoons. Rains and floods have aggravated the calamity and
thus deprived the monument of its original appearance.