was Vietnam’s feudal capital from 1802 to 1945 under the Nguyen dynasty. It is widely known for the magnificent architecture of its citadels, palaces, royal tombs, pagodas and temples set in a poetic background of greenery on the banks of the Perfume River. All were laid out in harmony with nature and in accordance with the principles of geomancy (feng shui). Besides monuments, Hue still retains much of its past glory in daily routines and activities in religion, gastronomy, handicraft, music, the performing arts and traditional festivals. Hue became Vietnam’s first World Cultural Heritage site recognized by UNESCO in 1993.
The Imperial citadel construction
which has a 9,950 m perimeter, begun in 1805 on the northern bank of the Perfume River. The Citadel was originally made of earth, but between 1818 and 1832 it was paved with a 2m-thick layer of bricks in the style of the French architect Vauban. The King’s official functions were carried out in the Imperial Enclosure, a citadel-within-a-citadel with a perimeter of 2,450 m. The Imperial Enclosure has four gates, the most famous of which is Ngo Mon Gate or Southern Gate used as the main entrance. Within the Imperial Enclosure is the Forbidden Purple City, which used to be the living quarters of the King. With more than 100 buildings such palaces, temples, fortresses, etc., the Citadel is the most interesting place to visit in Hue.
The Museum of Royal Relics hall
is beautiful. It was built in 1845 and restored when the museum was founded in 1923. This is a precious wooden construction of Hue’s unique palace architectonics. The house was built after the “trung thiem diep oc” model (sloping successive roofs) with 128 pillars. The first sight catching visitors’ eyes is the walls inscribed with 1,000 poems written in chu nom, the Vietnamese script. Most of the exhibits displayed here have characteristics left by the last Vietnamese feudal dynasty. Here visitors can find the everyday utensils (such as clothing, sedans and gongs) of the King and the royal family and other aesthetics decorative works in the palaces of Hue.
The Royal tombs
are the final resting places of the height Nguyen kings. Among them, Tu Duc Tomb, Khai Dinh Tomb and Minh Mang Tomb are often visited. The construction of each tomb was very meticulous and usually started while the reigning king was still alive. Although all are unique in structure and design, most of the tombs consist of two compounds. The first is reserved for funeral services and the second is the tomb proper. Generally, each tomb is enclosed by a surrounding rampart. However, the internal configuration of each tomb is different, since these particular arrangements reflected the tastes and personality of the monarch.
The Dong Ba Market
is located on the southeast corner of Hue Citadel, it is one of the most famous commercial centers in Vietnam. Built in 1899 and then destroyed in 1968, the market was rebuilt on an area of 5 ha in 1986. Up to now, all the typical features of a traditional Vietnamese market are still there such as the sampan landing, the bus station and the bazaars. Dong Ba market is a paradise for snapshots of daily activities as well as for shopping with everything from souvenir items to bronze goods, Hue sesame sweetmeat and conical hats.
The Thien Mu Pagoda
was founded in 1601. It is one of the most famous architectural structures in Vietnam. The most striking feature is the 21 m octagonal tower, the seven floors of Phuoc Duyen Tower. The tower has become the unofficial symbol of Hue. Lying on Ha Khe Hill, 7 km from Hue, the pagoda can be reached either by car or by boat. Visitors often come here late in the afternoon in order to enjoy sunset on the Perfume River and to attend the daily prayer service at 17.00.
The Hai Van Pass
means in Vietnamese, the pass of ocean clouds. It is located on Highway 1 between Danang and Hue. One can see a spectacular stretch of scenery here where mountains seem to fall into the sea. In the past, Hai Van Pass has been the site of a historic seesaw struggle between several nations in the region (Kingdoms of Champa, Vietnam, Laos, etc.).
The Perfume River
is a must be on you trip to be enjoyed during a boat excursion. This 100 km river owes its name to the fact that it flows through many forests of aromatic plants before reaching Hue, bringing with it fragrances of tropical flora. A boat cruise will offer visitors a general view of the daily life of Hue people. When night falls, the surface of the river glistens under the moonlight and the folk melodies of Hue make the lovely river even more poetic and musical.
The Garden Houses
have each an area of about 2,000 m². In front of the house, there is always a tile-covered gate. Around the house is a garden with all kinds of fruit and flowers. The highlight in a garden house is a small rock-garden which is an artificial wood and mountain made of rock, water and plants. The house and the garden, the people and the landscape all blend harmoniously in a colorful atmosphere. All shows the love of nature of the owners, which is one of Hue people’s characteristics.
The Bach Ma National Park
is just 45 km south of Hue. The Park is home to the old French hill station. Established in mid 1998, the park covers a rolling mountainous area of 22,030 hectares. The forest, in addition to its indigenous flora, also has various species of plant. Visitors can find exciting trekking routes and romantic hotels in this area.