Guidebook Admire the Imperial City of Hue

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Admire the Imperial City of Hue

The Imperial City of Hue is a walled palace located inside Hue City, explains Lonely Planet. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it was built in 1362 and served as the capital of Vietnam during the reign of the Nguyen dynasty between 1802 and 1945. Hue “remained at the centre of Vietnam geographically and politically right up until the end of the Vietnam War,” writes Mark Bowyer at Rusty Compass. But modern Hue, he says, “is a city of loss -- loss of prestige and sovereignty to colonial France, loss of purpose as a deposed capital, and loss of culture, innocence and life in decades of terrible war.”

The Citadel -- Hue's Imperial City -- is much like Beijing's Forbidden City, notes Frommers. Built by Emperor Gia Long beginning in 1804, most of the site today is comprised of “crumbling stone buildings and walls overtaken by trees and plants,” but the natural disrepair “gives the place an authentic, ancient feeling.” The site is “not spectacular in itself, but the history and traditions are rich, and a good guide can give you a breakdown of what things once looked like and what life was like at the Imperial court, and connect you with a dance show of the Imperial Dance Troupe.” Situated on the banks of the Perfume River, it’s enclosed by a moat and perimeter wall, and was modeled after the Forbidden City as a result of “Vietnam’s long (but complicated) history with China,” says Wanderlust.

“Hue is one of my favourite places in Vietnam,” says Mark Bowyer at Rusty Compass, “but few travellers come away with the same view.” It is, he contends, “one of the most photogenic cities in Vietnam … there are old gems lurking on the streets and in the countryside.” The people still have “a provincial warmth about them,” and the local cuisine “is amazing.”

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