Unveiling Hanoi: The Imperial Archives

For the first time, a collection of significant administrative documents, which were issued during the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), is currently being exhibited.


A fascinating exhibition titled “Imperial Archives of the Nguyen Dynasty – The Soul of a Lost Dynasty” was recently inaugurated at the National Archives Center No. 1 in Hanoi as part of the celebrations for Vietnam Cultural Heritage Day (November 23).

  The exhibition entitled Imperial Archives of the Nguyen Dynasty – The Soul of a Lost Dynasty. Photo: Nguoi lam bao newspaper

 The Imperial Archives of the Nguyen Dynasty comprise a collection of administrative documents issued by the Nguyen Dynasty, which include the decrees issued by the emperors and the reports submitted by various agencies within the administrative system for the emperor’s approval, written in scarlet ink. The Nguyen Dynasty’s cabinet was responsible for compiling these documents.

Displayed in an awe-inspiring setting that combines modern lighting systems and installation art, the exhibition promises an immersive experience for its visitors.

The thematic exhibition highlights notable documents such as the Imperial records from the reign of King Minh Mang in 1838, which declared the country’s name as Dai Nam; the Imperial records approved by King Tu Duc in 1859; as well as several records related to Lunar New Year rituals enacted by King Thanh Thai (1879-1954); among others.

 An archive of the Nguyen dynasty that proves the sovereignty of Vietnam over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands in the East Sea. Photo: VOV

 According to Tran Thi Mai Huong, Director of the National Archives Center No. 1, the Imperial Records of the Nguyen Dynasty were inscribed by UNESCO as documentary heritage in the Asia-Pacific Register in 2014, and as a world documentary heritage in 2017.

The Nguyen Dynasty was Vietnam’s last monarchy and reigned for 143 years (1802-1945).

The thematic exhibition is open from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, at the Exhibition Hall, 3rd Floor, National Archives Center No. 1, No. 5 Vu Pham Ham Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi.

The impressive exhibition space.  Photo: Nguoi lam bao Newspaper