5 most popular places to visit in Hue, Vietnam
5 most popular places to visit in Hue, Vietnam
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The Imperial Citadel – The Purple Forbidden Citadel of Hue, Vietnam
Located on the northern bank of Perfume River, Hue Imperial Citadel is the must-see attraction for you when visiting this charming beauty. Thanks to its historic and cultural values, Hue Imperial Citadel was officially recognized as one of Vietnam’s seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1993.
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Hue Imperial Citadel was actually a walled fortress and palace constructed in 1805. It’s Gia Long King that chose the location base on the feng-shui and planned to build this citadel. After 27 years, in 1832, Hue Imperial Citadel was completed and became the most massive structure throughout the history of modern Vietnam.
Hue Imperial Citadel covers an area of 520,000 m2 and features a circumference of 10 kilometers. The circumference is 6.6 meters high and 21 meters thick. To protect the important palace inside, there are ten majestic gates leading to the Hue Imperial City including Thuong Tu Gate, Dong Ba Gate, Mang Ca Nho Gate, Mang Ca Lon Gate, The Nhan Gate, West Gate, Ngo Mon, Hoa Binh, Chuong Duc, and Hien Nhon Fate. There are 4 outer courts and 14 inner courts. In addition, Hue Imperial Citadel has a garden called Ngu Uyen and 2 pavilions including Lau Kien Trung and Thai Binh Lau.
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Thien Mu Pagoda – The divine symbol of Vietnam
Constructed in 1601 between Perfume River and a pine forest, the Thien Mu Pagoda is considered as the most fascinating and ancient pagoda in Hue. The name Thien Mu which means “Celestial Lady” has its roots in a local legend: a woman in a red blouse and green trousers appeared on the hill every night and said that a Lord would come by and build here a great pagoda for the country’s prosperity. When passing by the village and hearing of this legend, Nguyen Hoang King decided to buy this pagoda and named it Thien Mu.
Thanks to the development and the spread of Buddhism in Dang Trong, Thien Mu pagoda was renovated in on a larger scale under the reign of Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu. It was the time the big bell with inscribed teaching was added. Since then, the sound of the bell has become the soul of Hue. In 1974, Thien Mu Pagoda was rebuilt one more time. There were many great architectural structures that were added including Thien Vuong Building, Dai Hung Building, Thuyet Phap Building, Tang Kinh Pavilion, Monks’ rooms and a house for religious meditation time. In 1884, this pagoda is rebuilt with the construction of Phuoc Duyen Tower – the famous symbolic link with Thien Mu Pagoda, Thieu Tri Emperor’s poems and Huong Nguyen Temple
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Throughout history, Thien Mu Pagoda has gone through many eventful phases, damage as well as renovations, it still remains one of the twenty most beautiful landscape and a divine symbol of this ancient capital. The beautiful sound of Thien Mu bell winding its way over the Perfume River flow will resonate in the hearts and minds of the people and visitors to Hue.
Vong Canh Hill – The best place to catch a panoramic view of Perfume River
Vong Canh Hill, the 43-meter high hill, is located 7 kilometers from the center city. As its name suggests (“Vong” means “watch”, “Canh” means “scene”), Vong Canh Hill is the best place to catch a panoramic view of Perfume River. From the top of the hill, you can enjoy the natural beauty and the tranquility of Hue. In front of your eyes is a harmonious, attractive picture of peaceful villages stretching along the river banks, small boats quietly skimming and the green corn field inscribed by the pine trees.
Vong Canh Hill is surrounded by many royal tombs. Coming to Vong Canh Hill, you will have chances of visiting many royal tombs such as King Tu Duc’s, Dong Khanh’s, and Thieu Tri’s’ tomb. You can also visit the Water plant Van Nien which is the Oriental-styled building designed by French architecture.
Nam Giao Esplanade – The Monument of the Nguyen Dynasty
Nam Giao Esplanade is the monument where Nguyen Kings used to come to give offerings the God annually in the spring. In spite not being in the intact condition, Nam Giao Esplanade is still the largest one in Vietnamese history left.
This monument consisted of three terraces which symbolized three agents including heaven, earth, and man. The topmost terrace is “Vien Dan” symbolizing Heaven. Vien Dan has a circle shape and is surrounded by a blue-painted parapet. There is a stone called “Thanh” piercing with the circular holes on the surface. Right below the Vien Dan is Phuong Dan – the square terrace symbolizes Earth. This terrace is surrounded with a yellow-painted parapet. The lowest terrace is also square and symbolizes human. All three terraces feature doors at very four sides: East, West, South, and North.
Vietnamese and Chinese people used to think that King was the son of the Gods. Nam Giao Ceremony was a ritual, solemn ceremony of Nguyen Kings to show respect and to worship their parents (heaven and earth). The first ceremony was held in 1807 and from then on it was held annually in the spring until Thanh Thai times in 1907, it was ordered to hold every three years by the King because he realized this ceremony is too costly. Nam Giao Ceremony was also an occasion when the Nguyen Kings pray for timely rains and favorable weather as well as peace to their country. That’s the reason why for the Nguyen Kings, Nam Giao Esplanade was the most sacred place that needed to be kept well. Visiting Nam Giao Esplanade, you will have chances of understanding more about the history and culture of ancient Vietnam.
An Dinh Palace – The remnant of Vietnamese royal life under feudal court
Located by the bank of An Cuu Canal, An Dinh Palace was the palace where Bao Dai King, the last king of Vietnamese feudal court, and his family lived from 1945 to 1955. After several restorations and conversations carried out strictly to UNESCO standard, recently An Dinh Palace has been opened for tourists by the Center for Preservation of Hue Relics.
In the beginning, An Dinh Palace was built to be the private residence of the king Khai Dinh. After officially acceding to the throne, the King Khai Ding continued to renovate this palace in modern European style between 1917 and 1919. It’s the special aesthetic sense and eccentric mental sense of the king Khai Dinh that created the unique feature of this palace.
Come to this site, you are free to explore the beauty of the sophisticated decoration at Khai Tuong Pavilion. This pavilion consisted of three stories, all of which were designed in modern European style and were constructed by a modern material. At the first floor, An Dinh Palace features the wall paintings with many remarkable western style paintings survived in Vietnam from the early 20th century. In addition, this palace serves as a museum with over 40 photos, 100 original objects and 30 documents on display reproduces lives of this royal family.