Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam so:
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Hue Imperial City – Admire the impressive beauty of Vietnam’s Imperial Past

Hue Imperial City, usually known as the Citadel of Hue, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that functioned as the Nguyen Dynasty’s imperial capital from 1802 to 1945. It is located on the northern bank of the Perfume River, in a breathtaking setting surrounded by natural beauty.

Significance of Hue Imperial City

Hue Imperial City
Hue Imperial City’s Beauty

The Citadel of Hue has a rich history and is an iconic reminder of Vietnam’s imperial past. Hue Imperial City’s story begins in the early nineteenth century when Emperor Gia Long unified Vietnam and formed the Nguyen Dynasty. He chose the scenic territory along the Perfume River in present-day Hue as a central location to create a new capital.

The construction began in 1804 and took approximately 30 years to finish. Throughout its history, Hue Imperial City has seen both grandeur and tragedy. It served as the Nguyen Dynasty’s political, cultural, and religious hub, hosting key ceremonies and events. Emperors and queens of the Nguyen Dynasty played an important role in maintaining and developing culture, art, and religion.

However, severe bombardment caused significant damage to the citadel during the Vietnam War. Many of its structures were demolished, leaving only ruins of what was once a beautiful complex. Many notable buildings in the Hue Imperial City have been repaired and are still surviving thanks to conservation and restoration initiatives.

Things to admire in the Imperial City of Hue

When visiting Hue Citadel nowadays, you will be in awe of the palace’s majesty, its antiquity, and the great dimensions of the temples and shrines. The Imperial Citadel, where the king founded the dynasty, and the Forbidden City, where the king and the royal family resided, are among the group of relics.

You can appreciate the architectural works inside this monument when entering the construction with the most massive scale in the history of Vietnam. There are a variety of places built and designed in sophisticated ways.

Imperial Citadel

Hue Imperial City - Admire the impressive beauty of Vietnam's Imperial Past

The citadel is a trapezoid-shaped structure made of bricks. There is a door to enter and exit the citadel on either side. Ngo Mon Gate is located in the south (front), Hoa Binh Gate is in the north (rear), Hien Nhon Gate is in the east (left), and Chuong Duc Gate is in the west (right). Each citadel has a stronghold sticking out in the center, over which a square dwelling is constructed with guard posts for soldiers.

The Imperial Citadel served to guard the Forbidden City, a location set apart for the monarch and the royal family, as well as the most significant court palaces, shrines, and places of devotion for the Nguyen Dynasty’s ancestors.

Forbidden City

The Imperial Citadel region includes the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City’s floor plan is also rectangular in design. Both the front and back measure 324 meters. There is no moat surrounding the brick wall. Only one door is located in the middle of the front wall.

Hue Imperial City - Admire the impressive beauty of Vietnam's Imperial Past
In front of the Forbidden City

The Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden City, which are both fortified walls with palace systems inside, are where the Nguyen Dynasty king and his family conduct their daily business. This is the center of daily activities of the emperor and royal family of the Nguyen Dynasty.

In addition to the two main parts of this construction, there are many other magnificent structures that we need to explore. Inside the Imperial Citadel, works with meticulous and sophisticated architecture such as Ngo Mon Gate, Dai Trieu Nghi Courtyard, Thai Hoa Palace, The Mieu, Hung Mieu, Hien Lam Cac, Cuu Dinh, Phung Tien Palace, Trieu Mieu, Thai Temple, Dien Tho Palace, Truong Sanh Palace, Tu Phuong Vo Su Pavilion.

The Forbidden City area has Ta Vu and Huu Vu, Bronze Cauldron, Kien Trung Palace, Can Chanh Palace, Can Thanh Palace, Khon Thai Palace, Thai Binh Lau, and Duyet Thi Duong.

Hue Imperial City - Admire the impressive beauty of Vietnam's Imperial Past

With many splendid works, you need more than a day to fully appreciate this enormous architectural complex. Additionally, the convergence of extraordinary performances at events like the Festival opening program, the Ban Soc ceremony, Royal Palace Night, and Royal New Year provide a variety of unusual experiences.

Hue Imperial City - Admire the impressive beauty of Vietnam's Imperial Past

The ideal time to visit the Imperial City of Hue

Hue has a moderate and dry climate from February to April, making it perfect for touring the Imperial City and its surroundings. Spring provides gorgeous blossoms and a pleasant mood, making for a picturesque setting for your visit.

This is also the time of year when numerous traditional celebrations in Hue take place. Many music events carrying Hue’s cultural tradition, in particular, are held right in the imperial city of Hue. Visitors should take advantage of this opportunity to immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere here.

Another great time to visit Hue Imperial City is from September to October. It will most likely give you better weather and a more comfortable atmosphere to fully appreciate this iconic monument’s historical and cultural treasures.

Useful tips for touring Hue Imperial City

Opening hours:

Open every day from 06:30 – 17:30 in summer and 07:00 – 17:30 in winter.

The opening time can be extended to 9 pm on festival days so that visitors can freely visit and experience the re-enactment of ancient court rituals and activities through performing arts programs. Daily, such as Changing of the Guard ceremony, the program of Royal and Ancient Hue tones, performances of Hue songs, excerpts of royal Tuong, etc.

Entrance fee:

– Adults: 200,000 VND / person ($8.8)

– Children

  • 7-12 years old: 40,000 VND / person ($1.75)
  • under 6 years old: free

Dress code:

Hue Imperial City is a sacred and solemn attraction, you should dress elegantly in a sleeved shirt and a dress or piece of clothing that covers the knees because it is home to numerous diverse ancient imperial palaces, royal tombs, emperor residences, and offices. Your regard for the community, culture, and artifacts is demonstrated by your customs.

View Hue Citadel 360

Hue Citadel Map Location

Kris Goetghebeur

Author: Kris Goetghebeur

With over 20 years of work experience, ranging from seasonal to full-time assignments in different sectors of the Travel, Recreation, Hostelry, and Service Industry, I have a strong background. I have been based in Saigon, Vietnam, since 1999. My educational qualifications include a degree in Management in Tourism and Recreation Studies as well as a degree in Accountancy. I am proficient in French, Dutch, English, and German. I have extensive experience in crafting tailor-made tours and incentive packages, boasting a nearly 100% satisfaction record from my customers.