Far from the more popular cities of Vietnam, in the center of the country, the city of Hue has existed for millennia. The city which was once the imperial capital, now includes a large number of temples as well as the former royal residences. To take a leap in Hue is to go back in time. The aged stone walls offer a timeless colour to all travellers visiting the city. But what is the history of the place? What should you definitely see if you are visiting Hue for the first time? Why do we have to dwell on this city? We’ll give you all the answers in the following article!
Hue’s story begins hundreds of years ago. In the 16th century, it was home to the Nguyen dynasty. Thanks to the reunification of 1802, Giang Long allowed the city to become the imperial capital of the whole country. During the 19th century, the emperor’s family built the great imperial city of Hue.
Inspired by the imperial city of China, it is built in several layers. In the center, the forbidden purple city is home to the imperial family. Only concubines and members of the emperor’s family have the right to pass through the gates of this pavilion. Indeed, every person outside their private circle entering the place is systematically executed.
Around the purple pavilion is the imperial city. This includes many royal palaces useful to the various lieutenants of the imperial family. The city is also a home to many places of pilgrimage.
Lastly, the citadel includes the various administrative buildings of the city. This huge complex that forms the city is surrounded by moats that protect the place by slowing down the possibilities of attacks.
Heavy architectural losses
The city has experienced some offenses in 1885 when China attacked the city. The main reason was, The strong desire for expansion of the Chinese. The place is a prime location to conquor the people. Later in 1947, it was the French who tried to invade the city and preceeded by the United States. The latter also did enormous damaged to the site in 1968 during the Vietnam War. Moreover, they bombed the place that destroyed many buildings and structures in the citadel and the imperial city.
Since then, the remaining buildings have been continuously restored and became the delight of tourists and the pride of the city’s inhabitants. Though the capital of Vietnam is no longer Hue, it will always be in the hearts of the natives of the place.
What to do in Hue?
Have you decided to visit Hue? It’s a wise choice, indeed. You will be delighted with this excursion! But to visit the city efficiently, there are important places not to be missed. Here we provide you with a non-exhaustive list of the different places you can find in Hue.
The pagoda of the celestial lady
Located on a hill, the pagoda of the celestial lady is the highest place of worship in Vietnam. As matter of fact, its 7 floors (representing the 7 reincarnations of Buddha) have been on the site since 1601. This is a place to visit at least once if you are in Hue. To get there, you will have to pass on the left bank of the Perfume River. The pagoda is about 5 kilometers from the imperial city.
The Imperial City
The different tombs
Although the purple city has been changing thru time, many ancient buildings are still present in the imperial city. You can enjoy the Royal Library still standing to this day. Many temples are also still in use today. But if there is one place not to be missed, it is above all the sumptuous palace of supreme harmony. Located in the heart of the imperial city, this red wooden building is a marvel of architecture. The latter has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
An imperial city also means tombs of emperors. More than 8 tombs are to be visited in the city. Great names from Vietnam from the Lang dynasty to the famous Nguyen who ruled the country rest here. You can find many mausoleums carved by the best craftsmen of Vietnam.
Eating a Bun Bo
Finally, it’s impossible to walk around Hue without eating one of the city’s delicious Bun Bo. This speciality is very popular with tourists and locals. To find a quality Bun Bo restaurant, don’t hesitate to ask around. The locals all have their favourite addresses. And you, have you ever been to Hue? Don’t hesitate to share your experience in the comments!