Guidebook Sense the history


Sense the history

Go to Hue to take “a trip down Vietnamese memory lane,” says Stray Travel. This former imperial capital of the Nguyen Dynasty, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a “must-see for its complex of ancient royal monuments.” Hue’s Imperial Citadel complex houses temples, pavilions, gates, shops, museums, and more -- “despite it being a main tourist attraction in Hue, due to its size it is peaceful and calm and you can easily spend the whole day exploring the grounds.”

“The Perfume River winds its way through Hue,” writes UNESCO, passing the Capital City, the Imperial City, the Forbidden Purple City and the Inner City, “giving this unique feudal capital a setting of great natural beauty.” Established as the capital of unified Vietnam in 1802, Hue was “not only the political but also the cultural and religious centre under the Nguyen Dynasty, the last royal dynasty of Vietnamese history,” until 1945.

Hue’s Imperial City is “fashioned after Beijing’s Forbidden City,” writes Stuart Heaver in The South China Morning Post. It stands “within the walled confines of the imposing red stone citadel, which encloses an area of some 520 hectares,” protected by its own walls. The complex includes “impeccably restored gate houses, temples, tombs, pavilions and moats.”

Half a century ago, historic Hue was “the scene of intense bombardment,” writes The South China Morning Post. “As US and South Vietnamese forces sought to penetrate the citadel and evict the insurgents, efforts were made to restrict the degree of damage inflicted on the Imperial Palace.” The American forces used artillery, naval gunfire and an occasional air strike to suppress the enemy on the outer wall, “but could do nothing about the snipers in the Imperial Palace because the royal residence was a no-fire zone.” The battle of Hue damaged or destroyed about 80 per cent of the buildings in Hue, and “despite decades of reconstruction work, there are still traces of the battle.”

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