The Citadel Complex of Hue, set up by Nguyen Dynasty  is now one amongst the relics of the Hue ancient Capital –beautiful place was declared World Heritage by UNESSCO in the year 1993.

Famous for the poetic and charming beauty, Hue was chosen to be the capital of the Southern kingdom under Nguyen Lords’ dynasty long time ago. Additionally, Nguyen Lords decided to build a citadel complex where normal residents and royal families can live. Therefore, this grandeur architecture was planned to be built in 1803 by Gia Long and completed during 27 years from 1805 to 1832, under the reign of Minh Mang.  Over the past 200 years, it has still maintained original with nearly 140 small and large constructions. It situated in the Northern bank of Perfume River, covered an area of 520 ha with three circles of ramparts, Hue capital citadel, Royal citadel and Forbidden citadel. At that time, Hue imperial citadel became the most massive structure being built in modern history of Vietnam involving thousands of workers, millions cubic meters of rock and huge burden of workload. The Ngu Binh Mountain in the South is used as a front screening elevation. The Con Hen and Con Da Vien (both are sand dunes) on the Perfume River are chosen as geomancy condition “dragon on the left, tiger on the right” to protect the capital city. If you are in Hue, please join us in this small journey exploring the beautiful feudal palace, the inspiration for numerous artists ever stepping inside.

The first stop-over is the exterior circle, the Hue capital citadel, which started to be constructed in 1805 under the reign of Emperor Gia Long and was completed in 1832 under the sovereignty of Emperor Ming Mang. With a square shape, it is almost 10km in circumference, 6m high, 21m thick, with 10 entrances. On the top of the walls, 24 bastions are established for defensive purposes. Besides, the Citadel has an ancillary gate connecting the Tran Binh Bastion called the Tran Binh Mon (Peaceful protector Gate).

Now we get further into the second circle, the Royal citadel, also the most important part of the Citadel, which was built in 1804 but totally completed in 1833, under King Ming Mang’s reign. The Citadel, which is more than 600m long for each side with a protecting trench system around which consists of more than 100 fascinating architectural works divided into numerous sections:

  • The Ngo Mon Gate and the Thai Hoa Palace.

About Ngo Mon Gate, this is a massive structure in front of the Hue Citadel that also served as a royal viewing platform for court ceremonies. The Gate has a few interesting architectural components, each one playing an important part in court ceremonial. Opposite the Ngo Mon Gate, across the Ngo Mon Square, you can see the Vietnamese national flag flapping from the Flag Tower. The three terraces that comprise the Flag Tower’s platform was built in 1807, during the reign of Gia Long. In the old days, the terraces were fortified by cannon – today, the flag tower serves as the reminder of the ultimate victor in the many wars fought over this city in the 20th century.

  • Section for placing shrines of the Kings under Nguyen Dynasty: Trieu Mieu, Thai Mieu, Hung Mieu, The Mieu and Phung Tien Temples
  • Section of internal affairs office: Storehouse for precious objects, workshop for manufacturing various useful articles.
  • Section of the Kham Van Palace and Co Ha Garden: is where the princes studied or relaxed.

Furthermore, tourist can visit the throne palace. The Throne Palace can be reached after walking 330 feet across a bridge known as the Trung Dao (Central Path) which crosses a pond known as the Thai Dich (Grand Liquid Lake).Immediately after crossing the bridge, you’ll step onto the Great Rites Court, where mandarins assembled to pay homage to the emperor. The lower half, further away from the Throne Palace, was reserved for village elders and lower-ranking ministers. The upper half of the court was reserved for high-ranking mandarins.The Throne Palace, also known as the Palace of Supreme Harmony, was the nerve center for the Emperor’s court during its heyday. Built in 1805 by Emperor Gia Long, the Throne Palace was first used in 1806 for the emperor’s coronation.

View Hue Royal Palace 360

Passing through Hoang Thanh, we enter Forbidden Citadel which is behind the Throne Palace, it was reserved for Emperor and his family. Built in the early 1803 under reign of Emperor Gia Long, it was initially named Cung Thanh the in 1821, it was renamed into the today’s Tu Cam Thanh. The whole site consists of 50 architectural constructions of different sizes and 7 gates for facilitating the entrance and exit. Dai Cung Mon (the Great Palace Gate) is in the front side, only reserved for the Kings. Can Chanh Palace was the place for daily working of Emperors. Can Thanh (Emperor’s Private Palace), Khon Thai Residence (Queen’s Private Apartment) were reserved for the Queens. There are still many other sections, for instance, Duyet Thi Duong house (Royal Theatre), Thuong Thien (the kitchen for the Kings’ food), Thai Binh Lau (King’s reading room), all of which are of great architectural value, luring uncountable visitors who are interested in feudal architecture.

Joining a city tour and visiting Hue Citadel – the not-to-be-missed attraction when you travel to Hue will give you a better understanding of the architectural and cultural beauty during an important phase in Vietnam history.

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