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Nestled in the heart of Thua Thien Hue Province, the former imperial capital of Vietnam, lies the splendid Imperial Citadel in Hue city. This remarkable historical site is a testament to the country’s rich history, showcasing the grandeur of Vietnam’s imperial past. In this article, we will take you on a journey through the Imperial Citadel, covering its location, history of construction, unique architecture, and the must-see attractions within its walls.
The Imperial Citadel is located in the center of Hue, a city in central Vietnam. Hue is known for its cultural and historical significance, and the Citadel is one of its most iconic landmarks. Situated on the banks of the Perfume River, the Citadel is easily accessible and offers a glimpse into the country’s imperial history.
History of Construction
The construction of the Imperial Citadel in Hue dates back to the early 19th century when Emperor Gia Long, the first emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, ordered its construction. The Citadel was built to serve as the imperial residence and the political center of the Nguyen Dynasty. The construction of this grand complex took nearly 30 years to complete, with work commencing in 1804 and finishing in 1833.
The design and layout of the Citadel were heavily influenced by the principles of feng shui, and it was strategically placed between the river and the mountains, with a vast wall surrounding it for protection. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, which covers a vast area, is a symbol of the power and influence of the Nguyen emperors during their rule.
The Imperial Citadel’s architecture is a harmonious blend of traditional Vietnamese and Chinese design elements. The complex comprises three main sections: the Outer Court, the Inner Court, and the Purple Forbidden City.
The Outer Court
The outermost section was primarily for administrative purposes and is accessible to the public. It features large open spaces, gardens, and several ornate gates.
Notable structures within the Outer Court include the Thai Hoa Palace, the Hall of Supreme Harmony, and the Nine Dynastic Urns. These buildings showcase intricate details, vibrant colors, and traditional wooden architecture.
The Inner Court
The Inner Court is the heart of the Citadel and was reserved for the royal family and close associates.
The most iconic structure in this section is the Forbidden Purple City, an area of great historical significance. While some parts have suffered damage during various wars and conflicts, the remaining structures still exude an air of grandeur.
The architecture within the Inner Court is characterized by its stunning golden roofs, intricate carvings, and vibrant red and gold color schemes.
Things to See at Imperial Citadel in Hue
Vietnam Travel Guide recommends you to visite below sites in the Imperial Citadel of Hue Vietnam.
Thai Hoa Palace: This impressive hall, also known as the Palace of Supreme Harmony, served as the main audience hall for important state ceremonies. Its gilded pillars, lacquered ceiling, and dragon motifs are breathtaking.
The Forbidden Purple City: Explore this once-restricted area and discover the ancient royal living quarters, gardens, and the imposing throne room. It offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the emperors and their families.
Nine Dynastic Urns: These symbolic urns are representative of the Nguyen Dynasty’s power and longevity. Each urn weighs several tons and is adorned with intricate designs.
Dien Tho Palace: A striking structure surrounded by beautiful gardens, this palace was where the empress and the queen mother resided. Its architecture and setting are truly enchanting.
The Imperial City Wall and Moat: The massive citadel wall, surrounded by a protective moat, is a sight to behold. Take a leisurely walk around it and imagine the grandeur of the past.
The Imperial Citadel in Hue is typically open to visitors during the following hours:
- Summer (March 1 – September 30): 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM
- Winter (October 1 – February 28/29): 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM
As of our last update in 2023, the entrance fees for the Imperial Citadel of Huế were as follows:
- Adult (both domestic and international visitors): VND 200,000 per person
- Children under 7 years old: Free
- Children from 7 to 12 years old: VND 40,000 per child
The Imperial Citadel in Hue, Vietnam, is a treasure trove of history, culture, and architecture. As you explore its vast grounds, you’ll be transported back in time to an era of emperors, dynasties, and imperial splendor. With its rich history, remarkable architecture, and a wealth of attractions, the Imperial Citadel is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Vietnam’s imperial past. It’s a testament to the enduring legacy of the Nguyen Dynasty and a true gem of Hue.