Hue imperial city

Hue imperial city (in Thua Thien - Hue Province) was Vietnam's capital for the reigns of 13 kings during the 143 years of the Nguyen dynasty from 1802 to 1945. Located on the northern bank of Huong river, Hue imperial city is surrounded by walls 6.6m in height, 21m in thickness, nearly 9km in length and protecting an area of over 500ha. There is a protective deep moat outside the walls.


The highlight in the Hue imperial city is Kinh Thanh (the Capital Citadel), Hoang Thanh (the Royal Citadel or Imperial City) and Tu Cam Thanh (the Forbidden Citadel) clustered together, symmetrically placed along the longitudinal axis and facing to the south. The system of walls and palaces combines sophisticatedly both Eastern and Western architectural styles and is Hue imperial city placed in natural harmony with Ngu Binh Mount, Perfume River, Gia Vien and Boc Thanh islets… In the distance, to the west of the Capital Citadel are the famous royal tombs and temples of Kings Nguyen distinguished by unique characteristics.

Hoang Thanh (the Royal Citadel or Imperial City)

Hue imperial city
The Royal Citadel. Photo:
Truong Sanh temple
Truong Sanh temple. Photo: Flickr
Thai Binh Lau (king library)
Thai Binh Lau (king library). Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Royal citadel and purple Forbidden City are collectively referred to as the Royal Palace. The Royal Citadel is home to the most important rites and political agencies of the court and temples. The Purple Forbidden City is the working and living place of the king and imperial family, which is strictly protected. The Royal Palace is includes the following architectural structures: the Southern Main Gate Ngo Mon, Thai Hoa temple and theater for ceremonies.

  • The Mieu is the place worshiping Nguyen dynasty kings with Cuu Dinh.
  • Dien Tho temple and Truong Sanh temple are the living place of the Queen Mother and Mother of Queen Mother.
  • Home Affairs Palace is the place of storing precious items, and manufacturing royal appliances.
  • Co Ha Garden and Kham Van temple is the place where princes study and play.
  • Purple Forbidden City: Can Chanh temple (living place of the king), Ta Vu and Huu Vu, Vac Dong, Duyet Thi Duong (theater), Thai Binh Lau (king library).

Relics in the imperial city

Ky Dai Hue
Ky Dai. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Ky Dai, Quoc Tu Giam, Long An temple, Fine Arts Museum of Hue Imperial Palace, Phu Xuan temple, Tinh Tam lake, library, Important and Secret Institute – Tam Tao, Dan Xa Tac.

Relics outside the imperial city

Mausoleum of Minh Mang
Mausoleum of Minh Mang. Photo: Flickr
Mausoleum of Khai Dinh
Mausoleum of Khai Dinh. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Mausoleum of Gia Long, Minh Mang, Thieu Tri, Tu Duc, Dong Khanh and Khai Dinh.

Other relics

Thien Mu Pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Phu van lau
Phu van lau. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Tran Binh Dai, Phu Van Lau, Thuong Bac Palace, Temple of Literature, Temple of Martial Arts, Dan Nam Giao, Ho Quyen, Hon Chen temple, Thien Mu pagoda, Bao Quoc pagoda, Tu Hieu pagoda, An Dinh Palace.

Nowadays, the ancient capital of Hue still preserves the tangible and intangible cultural heritage containing symbolic values of Vietnamese intelligence and soul.

Hue was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO on December 11, 1993 for its architectural relics and beauty.

Hue imperial city map

Hue citadel map
Hue citadel map


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