An Hien is widely considered as one of the largest and most beautiful garden houses in Vietnam's historical former capital of Hue. It was once the residence of a princess.
Facing the romantic Huong River, with the main house surrounded by an ample garden, An Hien boasts a perfect harmony of nature and human's design.
Nguyen Thi Thanh, the housekeeper, said An Hien was originally the residence of the 18th princess of King Duc Duc (1852 - 1883). After that it was transferred several times to different mandarins under the Nguyen Dynasty. It is now kept by the offspring of Nguyen Dinh Chi, who bought it in 1936.
An Hien is built on an area of 4,608 sqm, with a combination of traditional Vietnamese and traditional Hue architectures.
The gate of the house has an ancient arch design. The gate roof is decorated with a tiger-face figure and stylised designs on both sides. In the middle of the gate, from the outside, under the roof is a book-shaped panel embossed in the wall. A brick board of two Chinese characters meaning An Hien is inlaid with pieces of green and white terracotta in the black background. Above the panel, there are symmetrically two bats spreading their wings and looking down the gate. Right under the book-shaped panel is a colorfully and elegantly tiger-faced figure in a semicircular shape.
An Hien Garden has been described as a fine, sharp, and unique work by many writers. In the garden, many kinds of flowers grow. There are popular kinds of flowers such as jasmine, pergularia, pomegranate, sunflower, climbing rose and indigenous roses.
Aristocratic flowers consist of all kinds of orchids and land orchids. Besides the modern roses imported from the European GauJard and Meilland companies, you can find wild tomentose roses. Particularly, the garden has a big camellia presented by a Japanese Flower Association. In addition to the flower abundance, the garden also has many precious fruit-trees yielding year-around sweet fruits, namely mangosteen, durian, Thieu litchi, and Tien Dien persimmon which is a precious and rare kind of persimmon.
An Hien Garden House is a special cultural characteristic contributing to the beauty of Hue. Entering the garden, you will have a feeling of living in a miniature universe, in a peaceful and charming world. It has an attraction which is always secret as an unfinished book.