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Imperial Citadel

imperial citadel, far east vacation
Imperial Citadel

Imperial 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 nearly 7km.

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.
This citadel 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.