Hue Travel Guide
|Hue City is located in the central regions of Vietnam. The city of Hue is built on the banks of the Perfume River. Before the Second World War, Hue had been the capital of Vietnam.|
And it is no surprise that some of the residents of this city believe and act as if it still is the capital! The city is very beautiful and tourists from all over the world come here and the city enthrall them with the rich cultural and historical retreat, which perhaps have no equal in the whole of Vietnam!
The Land area of Hue province is about 5,009.2 square km. The population of the city is estimated to be around 970.000. Population density of the city is good and is about 194 person per square km.
There are around 8 districts that the province of Hue has its hold on: Phongdien, Quangdien, Huongtra, Phuvang, Aluoi, Huongthuy, Phuloc, Namdong. Though the city boasted a rare treat with the historical monuments and buildings but there remain now only the ruins, as all this has been destroyed!
Phu Bai Airport is 14km south of the city center and you can opt to have Vietnam Airlines who has daily flight connections with Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
If you want to arrive by train, then you will arrive and depart at the Hue Train Station at the end of Le Loi Street. There are two daily trains to and from Danang, and one of them is a local train and the other one is express.
If you have decided to travel by bus and want to notice the beauty of Vietnam through the windowpane, then you perhaps will find it a little difficult, but you will reach here anyhow! Some companies also run minibuses and you can choose to opt for them also!
Hue originally rose to prominence as the capital of the Nguyen family, which was a feudal dynasty and this family was dominant in southern Vietnam. In 1802, Nguyen-Phuc Anh succeeded in establishing his control over the whole of Vietnam, and made Hue as the national capital.
The status of being the capital city remained with Hue until 1945, when Emperor Bao Dai abdicated and a Communist government was established in Hanoi, in the north.
In the Vietnam War, Hue’s central position placed it very near the border between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. However, the city was located in the South and in the Tet Offensive, the city suffered considerable damage as well as the now infamous massacre at Hue.
After the war concluded, as it is always the case with after-war scenarios and policies, many of the historic features of Hue were neglected, being seen by the victorious Communists as a “relic of the feudal system”.
But with the passage of time the policies have seen some change, and some parts of the historic city have been restored.
During the Tet Offensive in 1968, the North Vietnamese flag flew from the citadel Flag Pole for 25 days. And when the Americans returned to the city, Hue was virtually destroyed in over ten days of terrible conflicts.
It is estimated that over 10,000 people were killed during this battle including thousands of people rounded up by the North Vietnamese as ‘undesirables’.
But the city has now been mainly rebuilt and no real signs of the Tet Offensive remain except for the virtual destruction of the Imperial city, which was a great loss to the whole country for its being a rare historical and cultural piece! People who had not visited the Hue city before the fall of Imperial City have really missed something in this destruction and the loss perhaps will never be fulfilled though the city has been restored by the present efforts!
Hue is the provincial capital of Thua Thien now. Owing to its rich culture and history, in 1993, Hue was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Places of Interest in Hue
The Citadel consists of three things: the moated Citadel, the Imperial Enclosure, and the Forbidden City. It was constructed in 1805 by Emperor Gia Long, and it has a big outer wall, which is 6 meters high, 11 kilometers long, with 11 gates and 24 watch-towers.
Three sides of the Citadel are straight, the forth is rounded slightly to follow the curve of the river. Some places of the interest to the tourists inside Citadel are the flag tower, Ngo Mon Gate, the Courtyard for royal ceremonies, the palace of supreme peace, halls of the mandarins, the memorial temple for Nguyen Kings, nine holy cannons, nine dynastic urns, and the Forbidden City for the royal families.
King Mihn Mang’s Tomb
This tomb was planned during the lifetime of king and built between 1841 and 1843 by his successor. The palace, the pavilion, the entrances are harmoniously built around two big lakes that make these more luxurious and peaceful and are a rare treat to watch for the visitors. The emperor’s burial place is situated on a mound of earth covered with mature pine trees, behind Sung An Temple, some terraces and stone bridges.
King Tu Duc’s Tomb
This tomb was designed by the King himself and he himself constructed it when he was still on the throne in 1848. The tomb was based on two axes, one for the mausoleum, and the other for the palace, 7 km far from the city, surrounded by a solid octagonal brick wall.
The place is romantic and beautiful in its appearance and the king used it for his leisure when he was alive!
King Khai Dinh’s Tomb
This is the tomb of Khai Dinh, who ruled the country from 1916 to 1925, and is perhaps a symptom of the decline of Vietnamese culture during the colonial period. Khai Dinh was the twelfth king of the Nguyen dynasty and was the father of King Bao Dai, who happened to be the last emperor of Vietnam.
The tomb was started in 1920 and completed in 1931. It is a bit different from other tombs of Hue City, as it has a mixture of Asian and European Architecture, and this is where the interest of kings in European civilization is amply shown!
The Thien Mu Pagoda
It is a Buddhist monastery and was erected here in 1601 by Lord Nguyen Hoang, who was the ancestor of the Nguyen dynasty. It was renovated in 1844 under King Thieu Tri’s sovereignty.
There is a legends associated with this place and the construction of Pagoda: people say that one night people found an old lady sitting on this small hill, wearing a red long dress and green trousers and she claimed that this place belonged to the supernatural power, so a pagoda should be constructed here! After saying that, the lady disappeared in the cloud. And since those times, it is called the pagoda of the old celestial goddess
Festivals and events
There are many festivals that are celebrated here and most of them are according to the Vietnamese calendar. You can enjoy them when you plan to come to Hue.