Tiger Arena or Ho Quyen (Vietnamese) is located on the south bank of the Perfume River and 4km from the Citadel, Royal Arena was where duels between trained elephants and tigers were arranged for the entertainment of the Nguyen Court and the public. These occasions were also the elephant’s practice combats.
Mortal fighting between the beats offered heroic spectacles, through these, the Nguyen rulers expected to remind the subjects of their compliance with the political consciousness: elephants, symbol of Emperors of unparalleled strength, were winners of all time, whereas tigers, the jungle beasts or rebels against the Court, were inevitably executed at last. Before the fighting, the tiger’s claws, his dreadful weapons, were cut off and the elephant was well fed.
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Constructed in 1830, the Tiger Arena is an open-air and solidly built coliseum. Collar-shaped, 44m diameter, it has a wall of earth and brick 4.5m thick, 5.80m high. The platform exclusively reserved for the Emperor faces south, opposite are five built-in tiger cages. By the right side of the platform is a large gate for elephants.
The last fighting in 1904 was briefly recorded as follow, The elephant came to the battlefield with pride and bravo v Soddenly, the tiger jumped onto him and clawed al his forehead. The elephant flung his head, the tiger was thrown away. He then jumped again, trying to resume his position. The elephant have an angry, deep throat teeth, rusher ahead and pressed the tiger to the wall with his own body and with all force he could again. Then he raised his head, threw the enemy on the ground and smashed him to death.
Tiger Arena remains now almost in good state. It is not only one of Vietnam’s unique monument but aslo the world’s valuable architectural work.
How to get there
Head west on Le Loi towards Hue train station, turn right after crossing the small bridge onto Bui Thi Xuan street. Continue go straight for 3 km and keep an eye on the left. Once you find an alley called Kiet 373. From Tiger Arena, you can visit Long Chau Temple is 200 metres down.
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