Saigon City Discovery: The Tomb of Truong Vinh Ky

The tomb of Truong Vinh Ky is quiet in the middle of the noisy city. 

At the corner of Tran Hung Dao – Tran Binh Trong streets in District 5, always noisy and busy, the tomb and memorial house of Truong Vinh Ky lies quietly as if sinking into another realm. Few people know that this used to be the residence and burial place of one of the most famous Vietnamese celebrities in the late 19th century, and also the founder of the first national language newspaper called Gia Dinh Bao.

Visiting the tomb and memorial house of Truong Vinh Ky, also known as Petrus Ky (1837-1898) in 2015 and September 2022, I found that the scene remained unchanged, except for a statue for sale. His body is placed in the tomb. People who often go in and out of this tomb area are only for the purpose of drinking coffee or eating snails, drinking. Few people come to visit him as a cultural celebrity in Vietnam.

The tomb and memorial house of Truong Vinh Ky has not yet been recognized by the government as a historical and cultural relic. Since 1975, the memorial house has had two families, it is unknown who, Vietnamese newspapers wrote that they were descendants of the old man, but foreign newspapers confirmed that it was not. In the campus, on the left is a snail shop serving from afternoon to 23 pm and on the right is a parking lot.

Truong Vinh Ky is a scholar, linguist, journalist and writer in the second half of the 19th century. He is passionate about Quoc Ngu literature and is considered one of the people who laid the foundation for a new literature. the National language. He is the originator of the use of Latin for Vietnamese and a pioneer in writing the Quoc Ngu script. He left behind a legacy of more than 100 literary, historical and geographical works, as well as various dictionaries and translations, which, however, have not been published and widely promoted so far.

After his death, Truong Vinh Ky was buried in the garden where his house was built of wood on the same plot in 1861 in Cho Quan. In the years 1935-1937, to celebrate his 100th birthday, Tri Tri Association built a mausoleum in the Western classical style. At the same time, restore the old house to make a memorial house. However, the entrance gate is a three-way gate according to the architecture of ancient Vietnamese temples.

Tomb of Truong Vinh Ky, about 50 m2, is a simple polygonal architecture, with fish scale tiles on the roof. The borders connecting the roofs are embossed with dragons, the top of the roof has the shape of a cross. The edges are connected by a decorative border embossed dragon in the style of an anise, with the dragon’s tail pointing up to the roof, the dragon’s body bending along the contour, and the dragon’s head below looking up. The top of the roof is placed a cross. The mausoleum has three gates in the north, west and south. Above each door is a Cross and Latin inscriptions taken from the Vulgate Bible.

The mausoleum door facing Tran Hung Dao street has the inscription “Miseremini mei saltem vos, amici mei” – according to the Old Testament about Job (Job) chapter 19, paragraph 21, it can be understood as “Have mercy on me, my brethren. friends”. The mausoleum door facing Tran Binh Trong street has the words “Fons vitae eruditio possidentis” – in the words of King Salomon, chapter 16, paragraph 22, which can be understood as “Those who have knowledge, ie have the source of life”. The third mausoleum door has the words “Omnis qui vivit et credit in me non morietur in aeternum” – taken from the Gospel according to Saint Johannis (Gospel of John) chapter 11 paragraph 25, which can be understood as “Whoever believes in me, even dead, will also live”.

On both visits – seven years apart, I was unable to enter the mausoleum because all three doors had locked iron doors. The inner wall of the mausoleum is painted in light blue, on the ceiling is a striking green yellow dragon pattern on the white ceiling. The mausoleum is tiled and is also the place of three tombs – in the middle is the grave of Truong Vinh Ky; on the left is the grave of Mrs. Maria Truong Vinh Ky, née Vuong Thi Tho (died July 17, 1907); and on the right is the grave of his eldest son, Jean-Baptiste Truong Vinh The (died October 26, 1916). A corner on the east wall behind the mausoleum is an elegant white and gold altar.

If you are interested to pay a visit to Tran Vinh Ky tomb, contact Jackfruit today for a Vietnam Cycling Tours, Bike Tour in Vietnam, Vietnam Adventure Cycling Tour

  • Collected and Translated from: Tidoo Nguyen-
  • Images owned by Jackfruit Adventure

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