Lam Kinh locates at Xuan Lam (Xuân Lam) commune, Tho Xuan (Thọ Xuân) suburban district. It is 50 km far from Thanh Hoa (Thanh Hóa) city towards the Northwest. This is a historical place-name ranked National historical monument in 1962 by Ministry of Culture and Information.
After 10 years of leading Lam Son (Lam Sơn) revolution (1418 – 1428), Le Thai To (Lê Thái Tổ) won a victory, became a king setting up the capital at Dong Kinh (Đông Kinh), and then took the date as the first year of Thuan Thien (Thuận Thiên). At the same time, he built Lam Son to become the second-rank imperial city called as Lam Kinh or Tay Kinh (Tây Kinh).
The North of Lam Kinh temple leans on Dau (Dầu) mountain, which is also called by Du Son (Du Sơn). The South of it is directed toward Chu river – where Chua (Chúa) mountain is front, its left side is Phu Lam (Phú Lâm) forest, its right side is Huong (Hương) mountain and Ham Rong (Hàm Rồng) mountain blocking in the West. The royal citadel, palace, and imperial temple at Lam Kinh were built according to Southern – Northern axis on a hill that has a shape of the word “Vương”. Four sides of royal citadel were built with the length of 314m and the width of 254m; the Northern wall had the shape of bow back with its radius of 164m and its thickness of 1m. Through archaeology and remaining relics indicate that formerly, magnificent Southern gate, court in front of royal palace, central chamber, imperial temple … have existed here. Although relics are not many, but enough for tourists to recognize that this is a very big construction made by Le Loi (Lê Lợi).
Vinh (Vĩnh) imperial tomb: Le Loi officially became a king on April 15th 1428, Mau Than (Mậu Thân) year and proclaimed himself “Thuận Thiên Thừa Vận Dụê Văn Anh Vũ Đại Vương”. Until Quy Mui (Quý Mùi) year (1433), he passed away, lived to be 49, ruled the country for 6 years, and was buried at Vinh ) imperial tomb, Lam Son.
The imperial tomb was built on a Southern plot of land at the foot of Dau mountain, on the axis of North – South between Dau mountain and Chua mountain which create the position of “hậu chẩm bắc sơn, tiền án nam sơn”, which means that 02 sides have 02 row of mountains create the position like ambushing tigers and supporting dragons. About 1km front of the imperial tomb, there is Chu river winding around the front creating the position of “tụ thủy”, which means water gather here. According to precise outlook of persons who are expert at the old and new science of winds and waters, Vinh imperial tomb is selected as a very beautiful position.
Although the lay-out and burying style at Vinh imperial tomb is simple, it is very solemn, unstudied, and elegant. The imperial tomb is covered with soil according to cube shape, surrounding it is inserted with stones. There are 02 rows of military aide statues and statues of breeding animals carved by stone put up here to protect it against evil spirits. Between two rows of military aide statues is a path whose width is 20m35 called by holy path. Overview of Le Thai To (Lê Thái Tổ) (Vinh imperial tomb) is not only really simple and near to everybody’s heart, but also solemn.
Stele in Vinh imperial tomb: was built on the top of the hill towards the East of Tay Ho (Tây Hồ), 300m far from Vinh imperial tomb. The stele was made of sea sedimentary rock with the height of 2.97m; the width of 94m; the thickness of 0.27m; and was put on the back of a big tortoise which was carved from sea sedimentary rock with the length of 3.46m; the width of 94m; the height of 0.94m including its support.
The stele house was rebuilt in 1961 (on chocks of the old stone pillar). The foundation of the house nearly had the shape of a square with its edges of 8.80m and had 4 curved roof covered with tiles shaped toe-cap. It was supported by 16 pillars with 4 pillars for each corner according to Le (Lê) reign’s style.
Decorative art was sophisticated and decorative style on the stele was suitable with the content of the epitaph compiled by Nguyen Trai (Nguyễn Trãi). The brow of the stele was designed in square shape whose inside was a circle representing for the sky and the earth. Between the square and the circle is the shape of stylized cloud; a head of a dragon looking straight ahead carved in the middle of it, the dragon’s body is bowing flexibly around the Sun that symbolizes the Divine Son of Heaven. At two sides of the square and the circle, 02 dragons craning their bodies to attend the king’s audience were carved. Each edge of stele has an image in which there are 9 halves of leaves carved very skillfully.
The epitaph is brief and condensed, but it reflects fully the biography, achievements, and merits of King Le Thai To. Vinh imperial tomb is a valuable work and has a big significance in Vietnamese treasure of cultural heritage.
Lam Kinh Historical Vestige,National historical monument,Chu river,Dau mountain