Citadel of Hue has long been a must-see attraction for tourists because
of its hidden charm. The Imperial City of Hue was actually a walled
fortress and palace belonged to the ancient city of Hue that used to be
the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty for 140 years. They said this position
was protected by the two sand dunes: The Con Hen and Con Da Vien on the
Perfume River as "dragon on the left, tiger on the right".
There are total of 10 main majestic gates leading to the Imperial City
of Hue. It is a huge complex comprising three circles of ramparts, Hue
Capital Citadel, Royal Citadel and Forbidden Citadel.
The very first stopover is the exterior circle, the Hue Capital Citadel.
The Imperial City has a circumference of 10 km with the height of 6,6m
and 21m thick with forts being meanderingly arranged, accompanied by
cannons, artilleries and ammunitions. Surrounding is the complicated
canal system served not only as a protection but also as a waterway with
Next, the Royal Citadel is also the most important part of the Citadel.
Imperial Citadel, which is more than 600m long for each side, was built with
bricks of 4m high and 1m thick. Around the citadel is a protecting
trench system. In the past, Ngo Mon Gate was only reserved for the King.
Royal Citadel consists of more than 100 fascinating architectural works
divided into numerous sections:
+ Section of the Ngo Mon Gate and the Thai Hoa Palace: used for various grand ceremonies.
+ Section for placing shrines of the Kings under Nguyen Dynasty: Trieu
Mieu, Thai Mieu, Hung Mieu, The Mieu and Phung Tien Temples.
+ Section of internal affairs office: Storehouse for precious objects, workshop for manufacturing various useful articles.
+ Section of the Kham Van Palace and Co Ha Garden is where the princes studied or relaxed.
Passing through Royal Citadel is the Forbidden Citadel – situated inside
the Imperial Citadel complex, behind the Throne Palace, the Purple
Forbidden Citadel was reserved for Emperor and his family.
part was built with brick walls of 3.72m high, 0.72m thick and about
1,230m in circumference. Its front and backsides are 324m long
respectively, while the left and right sides are both more than 290m
long. The whole site consists of 50 architectural constructions of
different sizes and 7 gates for facilitating the entrance and exit. The
Great Palace Gate is in the front side, only reserved for the Kings.
Emperor's Private Palace was the place for daily working of Emperors.
Emperor's Private Palace, Queen's Private Apartment were reserved for
the Queens. There are still many other sections, for instance, Royal
Theatre, the kitchen for the Kings' food, King's reading room, all of
which are of great architectural value, luring uncountable visitors who
are interested in feudal architecture.
The citadel was badly ruined during the war between the French colonial
and Viet Minh in 1947, and again in 1968 during the Tet Offensive, when
it was shelled by Viet Cong and then bombed by the Americans. As a
result, some areas were destroyed and now only empty fields, bits of
walls, and an explanatory plaque. Other buildings are intact, though,
and a few are in sparkling condition.