I. Hue Imperial Citadel – The Resplendent Royal Heritage of HueLocated beside the Perfume River, the Hue Imperial Citadel (Vietnamese: Hoang Thanh Hue, Kinh Thanh Hue or Dai Noi) is arguably the most famous heritage site of Hue and central Vietnam, also one of the most well-known destinations in Vietnam. The Hue Citadel was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. As Hue was the former capital of Vietnam, Hue Citadel was an important site for the Nguyen Dynasty, where the kings, queens, mandarins and different royal officials resided. The construction of the Hue Citadel was initiated by the first King of Nguyen Dynasty Gia Long in 1803 but not until 1833 was it completed, which was under the reign of King Minh Mang.
Location: northern side of the Perfume River (Huong River), right at the center of Hue city
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Ticket & Opening Hours:Ticket: 200,000 VND per adult and 40,000 VND per child (7 to 12 years of age). Entrance is free of charge during the Vietnamese Lunar New Year (dates varied)Opening hours: 07:00 – 18:00
Dress Code Regulations: sleeveless shirts and shorts are not allowed
II. What to see in the Hue Citadel
1. Ngo Mon Gate
Source: Lux Travel DMC
Ngo Mon Gate is the main gate that is located at the south of the Citadel. The gate is also the symbol of Hue city. The gate faces the “Ngo” direction, which means the south direction in Vietnamese. “Mon” means “gate” or “door”. Therefore, “Ngo Mon” can simply be understood as the gate that faces the south.
2. Thai Hoa Palace (Palace of Supreme Harmony)
Entering Ngo Mon Gate, visitors will cross the Trung Dao bridge across Thai Dich lake to Thai Hoa Palace, or known as the Palace of Supreme Harmony in English. Thai Hoa Palace is an important place of the Imperial City: it is where enthronement of all the 13 kings of the Nguyen Dynasty took place (from King Gia Long, the first king to King Bao Dai, the last king). King’s birthday and reception of ambassadors were also held here. It can be said that Thai Hoa Palace was the political center of the entire Vietnam at that time.
3. Left and right mandarin buildings
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Right behind the Thai Hoa Palace, visitors will enter a wide plaza surrounded by two mandarin buildings to its left and right. These two mandarin buildings were connected to Thai Hoa Palace and served as administrative offices for the Imperial civil service. They were also where important meetings with the King were prepared. The national exam was also held here for students who wished to enter Imperial civil service. The King was interested in the exams and he himself awarded those who passed the exams in front of the Ngo Mon Gate. When you walk to these two buildings now, you can find various souvenir shops where you can find different royal souvenirs of Hue.
4. Royal Reading Room (Thai Binh Lau)
Source: Vinhtantran – Wikipedia
Thai Binh Lau, or known in English as the Royal Reading Room, is one of the most interesting buildings of the Citadel. Thai Binh Lau was the only building that wasn’t destroyed by the wars during the twentieth century. Its construction was initiated by the King Thieu Tri in 1841 and completed in 1847. This was where the Kings used to stay to read books and write letters. The Room was restored by the city’s authorities in the early 1990s.
5. Dien Tho Palace
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Dien Tho Palace was constructed in 1804 as the Queen Mother’s home and audience hall. This was where the Queen Mother resided and went about her personal life. The Dien Tho Palace was partially damaged in the 20th century but was restored between 1998 and 2001
There are several other buildings located close to the Dien Tho Palace. Phuoc Tho Temple is located behind the Dien Tho Residence and served as the Buddist temple of the Queen Mother, where she held religious celebrations and performed ceremonials on auspicious days of the lunar month. In addition, Tinh Minh Building can be found next to the Dien Tho residence.
6. The To Mieu Temple
When you reach the Chuong Duc gate, you will be able to find the way into the The Mieu and Hung Mieu compound. Two temples are still located within the compound’s walls: The To Mieu, where the Kings revered, and Hung To Mieu, constructed to preserve the memory of King Gia Long’s father and mother. On the death anniversaries of the kings, the reigning king and his entourage would perform rituals at The To Mieu to honor the kings that passed away. At the first place, there were only seven altars as the French prohibited the Nguyen Kings from building altars of those who were anti-French, which were King Ham Nghi, King Thanh Thai and King Duy Tan. The three missing altars were installed in 1959, after the French left Vietnam.
7. Hien Lam Pavilion
In front of the Hien Lam Pavilion, visitors can see 9 urns that symbolize the completion of reigns of the kings. The urns were designed with enormous proportions: each one weighs between 1.9 and 2.9 tons with the smallest urn standing at 1.88 meters high. The Hien Lam Pavilion or in English known as the Pavilion of Glorious Coming, served as a place of honoring major commoners who helped the Nguyens rule their kingdom.
The Hue Citadel is a significant heritage of the Hue people, the Vietnamese and the world. This is a must-go destination for those who plan to make their trip to Vietnam. The Hue Citadel is where visitors can travel back in time and live an authentic Vietnamese royal life, which hardly any commoners had a chance to even enter during that time. So why wait? Let’s grab the camera and pack your bags to visit the Hue Citadel right away.
III. Lux Travel DMC
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Lux Travel DMC is the first luxury tour operator in Vietnam. Founded in 2004, we provide 100% tailor-made private tours to everywhere in Vietnam as well as in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. The holiday is designed around your interest, time, need and budget. You are the one who decides when and where to go, where to stay. 99% of our customers are satisfied with our service with positive reviews on TripAdvisor. If you are interested, please contact us for free and have direct consultation for planning a trip designed in your own way.
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