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Hue ancient capital - the quintessence of royal culture

The most striking attraction of the Ancient Capital of Hue is the Imperial City, representing the stature and vitality of the whole nation. With a hundred-year deep culture and national ingenuity, the Nguyen Emperors created a magnificent royal court. Apart from a living place for the people to settle down, this Imperial Palace also played an extremely important role which was shaping the leadership standard for all descendants of the Nguyen Dynasty by utilizing the power of Feng Shui and inheriting the Confucian tradition It's time for the tour to discover the life of the emperors, and relive the powerful Vietnamese feudal dynasty, Hue Imperial City.


Hue Imperial architecture - A wonder of Feng Shui

The Imperial Citadel of Hue (or Thuan Hoa) is a citadel in the ancient capital of Hue. It was the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty in 143 years (1802 - 1945). Hue citadel was designed by King Gia Long in 1803, commenced in 1805, and completed in 1832 under the reign of King Minh Mang.

The citadel was oriented to face the Huong River (Perfume River) to the southeast. In terms of Feng Shui, historically, the citadel was the over-100 meter-high Ngu Binh Mountain whose top was flat and sleek. Being located in the middle of a beautiful delta, the mountain range served as a spectacular screen for the city. The Mountain is located between Hến Dune and Dã Viên Dune, which can be depicted as Tả Thanh Long and Hữu Bạch Hổ (the blue dragon on the left and the white tiger on the right). This resembles the admiration of dragon and tiger for the king. A large part of Huong River lies between the two dunes, Minh Đường Tụ Thủy, whose shape as a bow brings vitality to the city.

The art of decorating the palace

Pháp Lam - luxurious and solemn

Phap Lam is the name of a type of art product made of copper, which is painted one or several enamel layers and then baked. Aesthetically, Pháp Lam is richly varied in form, color, and application such as furniture, offerings, and ornaments which all are precious royal antiquities

Khảm Sành Sứ - Porcelain mosaic

When decorating the palaces, artisans must look for very special porcelain pieces. Sotisphicating cutting technique helps porcelain pieces fit tightly and perfectly together, without exposing the mortar circuit. Porcelain mosaic enamel usually has bright and vibrant colors like magenta, lotus flower color

07Royal Tombs

Prominent in Hue imperial palace is the royal tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty. It would be a big mistake not to visit these most famous places to see the unique architecture of each tomb


Fine features in Hue
royal costume

The Nguyen Dynasty had different rules for costumes for all strata of society, based on the criteria: fabric, colors, sewing styles, decorative motifs, even the number of costumes for each level also has very strict rules. High-qualify silk used to make costumes and crowns for the king and the royal family were ordered by the court in China. In terms of decoration, the hierarchy by one’s title is strictly followed. For instance, dragons are embroidery on the king's shirts while the prince's coat can only be decorated with the Qilin. Similarly, the queen's dress is embroidered with flowers and a three-stripped tail phoenix while a princess's shirt can only be a one-stripped tail phoenix. But that’s not everything: a dragon on the king's coat has 5 claws while the embroidery on crown prince's can only be a 4-claw dragon mask, not flying dragons or “hồi long triều nhật” – dragons turning heads to the sun (to wordship).

According to the book "Khâm Định Đại Nam hội điển sự lệ", during the reign, the king wore a crow with 31 golden dragons, 30 square flowers inlaid with pearls, 140 diamonds and pearls. The queen's hat has 9 dragons, 9 gold phoenixes, 9 pieces of silver drill, 4 silver brooches with 198 pearls and 231 crystal beads.

Eat with five senses

Royal Cuisine - Philosophical conception in enjoying food

Hue delicacies are not only about food consuming. First of all, the dish must look stunning in your eyes, smelt great by your nose, and make you feel your cravings while your ears listen to charming sounds of the food. And, that is, to eat with your five senses. Most royal dishes are not much different from the normal dishes in terms of ingredients. The differences here lie in the cooking process and meticulous decoration, turning cuisine into an art

  • Bát Trân

    This is the name for a set of 8 rare and precious dishes in the past, reserved only for the kings. Bat Tran is also a kind of tonic, bringing health and longevity to the monarchs.

  • Nem Công

    Peacock rolls have detoxifying properties, thus eating peacock rolls helps to increase the ability to detoxify any toxins that the body accidentally absorbs. This dish is considered the king’s "guardian god", protecting the king from any assassination attempts.

  • Chả Phượng

    Cha Phuong is made from the pheasant meat, a beautiful long-tailed bird, quite similar to the phoenix on ancient sculptures. Like peacock meat, the pheasant has high medicinal properties and is good for health.

  • Da Tây Ngưu

    The rhino has quite a thick skin, and to make this valuable dish, the chefs only take the skin inside the armpits. After being cut, the skin will be dried in the sun for 100 days, then soaked in alcohol for a month, then dried andstored in silver or gold boxes.

  • Bàn Tay Gấu

    Legend has it that Ban Tay Gau (Bear hands) must be dipped to the boiling oil 100 times to be soft and clean, before being stewed with many other herbs to create a dish for the king.

  • Gân Nai

    Deer rib is a very rare and precious ingredient to make ancient royal dishes. This dish’s recipe is quite sophisticated.

  • Môi Đười Ươi

    The most valuable part of an orangutan is the lips. Delicious orangutan lips were used to prepare specialties for the king.

  • Thịt Chân Voi

    Besides ivory, the tender tendon meat at the foot of an elephant is the most valuable material to cook a delicious dish for a king.

  • Yến Sào

    Yến sào or Edible bird's nest created by the white-nest swiftlets is among the top-notch dishes of Vietnamese Imperial cuisine. With a long, hard, and meticulous cooking process, this dish can only be completed by top-tier Royal cooks.


Hue Royal Court Music -
UNESCO’s Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity

Hue Royal Court Music is considered the National Music of Vietnam, a type of official music used in the solemn sacrifice programs of the Nguyen Dynasty such as the Coronation, Funeral Ceremony, the Nam Giao Sacrifice... Being the Statue of royalty and the longevity and prosperity of the Dynasty, Hue Royal Court Music is highly regarded and focused on development.

History books of the Nguyen dynasty record up to 12 ceremonies, each ceremony has a full record of chapter songs and 126chapters record full of original lyrics and translations. Instrumental is provided with 6 types of the orchestra. These are orchestras: Nhã Nhạc, Nhạc Huyền, Đại Nhac, Tiểu Nhac, Ty Chung, and Ty Khánh, Quân Nhạc. The above orchestras have specific instruments and no less than 30 categories with the number on hundreds of instruments. Particularly percussion type vibration membrane has 20 drums.

Âm nhạc tịnh trần, hòa kỳ tâm dĩ dưỡng kỳ chí Nghiên xuy tề hiến, thủ kỳ thị nhi giới kỳ phi

— Emperor Minh Mang

It means that the music harmonizes the inner soul, nourishes (or motivates) our will, encourages the right and left out the evil