The imperial city of Hue is the cultural, intellectual and spiritual heart of Vietnam, home to the ancient tombs of Nguyen dynasty emperors.
Located along the narrow coastal strip of central Vietnam, the former imperial capital is a sleepy, romantic city which is now seeing a revival in tourism thanks to the Vietnamese government’s efforts to preserve and restore the country’s rich heritage.
Once the capital of Vietnam and the seat of the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945), Hue is located along the scenic banks of Song Huong, known also as Perfume River. The imperial citadel is a large complex faithfully modelled after Beijing’s Forbidden City, and is a treasure trove of Chinese architecture.
Today, only 20 out of 148 palaces and buildings are left standing due to damages from the Vietnam War and other natural disasters, but the magnificently-restored buildings are still worthy to be recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As a city, Hue is full of bridges, lakes, moats and canals. Located south of the Perfume River are the seven tombs of the Nguyen dynasty emperors, well spread out along the hillsides with each tomb enclosed by large brick-paved courtyards.
Besides the Imperial City, Hue’s other attractions include Thuan An Beach, the Royal Antiquities Museum, Hue Historical and Revolutionary Museum, Thien Mu Pagoda and Phu Cat, a nice little neighbourhood great for a relaxing stroll to see its local market.