Hue Imperial Citadel
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Hue Imperial Citadel

Hue – the ancient capital of the Vietnamese people, you can not miss Hue Imperial Palace. Which still has unique cultural and architectural imprints that cannot be missed in the Hue travel itinerary. Which still has unique cultural and architectural imprints that cannot be missed in the Hue travel itinerary.

Hue Imperial Palace with hundreds of ancient architectural works. It is also the place to preserve the imprints of 13 kings of the Nguyen Dynasty for 143 years. This is the most famous tourist destination in the ancient capital of Hue. It helps you better understand the last feudal dynasty in Vietnam and have memorable experiences during their trip to Hue. Let’s explore the peace and mysterious history of Hue Imperial Palace with Origin Vietnam.

1. Where is the Hue Imperial Citadel?

Hue Imperial Palace is located at 23/8 street, Thuan Hoa ward, Hue city, Thua Thien Hue province. Stretching along the banks of the Perfume River, a famous and important river in the Central region of Vietnam.

Hue Imperial Citadel

2. How is Hue Imperial Citadel unique?

People had built it from the early 19th century to the first half of the 20th century. It is one of the relics in the Hue Monuments Complex group that has been recognized as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage since 1993. The panorama of Hue Imperial Citadel still retains many unique imprints of the feudal Nguyen Dynasty for hundreds of years.

With an area of more than 500 hectares and 10 main gates, Hue Imperial Citadel has many unique architectural works, such as palaces, temples and many other works. Each project has its own unique historical and artistic mark, containing stories about the Nguyen Dynasty and the people who lived and contributed here.

Hue Imperial Palace is where the living and activities of the Nguyen kings and the last feudal court of Vietnam took place.

The Hue Imperial Citadel is the most massive construction in Vietnamese history to date. It had a construction process that lasted for many years with tens of thousands of construction workers and a series of jobs. Such as filling rivers, digging trenches, and building ramparts, in addition to a huge volume of soil and rock up to millions of meters.

The landscape surrounding the Citadel is more romantic and poetic with a peaceful river and green fields. It creates a harmonious space like a watercolor painting imbued with Vietnamese soul.

In particular, the Hue Imperial Palace faces the South, this is the Nguyen court’s wish for the country and people to always enjoy prosperity and peace. At the same time, it also shows respect and reverence for nature and the universe.

Image of Hue Imperial Citadel

3. When is the best time to visit Hue Imperial Citadel?

The time to visit Hue Imperial Palace can take place throughout the year, depending on each person’s interests, time and budget. However, there are two times you should go to Hue Citadel:

3.1 Spring in Hue

Although not obvious, in Hue there is still some beauty of spring that is very poetic and lyrical like the muse here. Spring in Hue usually lasts from January to the end of March, the weather is cool and pleasant. At this time the cold winds have just left the dreamy Huong River. This is also the time when Hue becomes gentle, full of vitality with spring nature. Plants and trees are also gradually sprouting, the roads with flowers, highlighting the picture of lush green spring.

3.2 Festival season in Hue

From April to May is the time when traveling to Hue is more popular with many tourists. Because during this time, the Hue Festival will take place. Festival in Hue takes place in every year. It is famous as the largest and most unique festival in Hue as well as the Central region and one of the largest festivals in Vietnam. The graceful purple ao dai at Hue Festival brings the beauty of a muse.

You have the opportunity to explore and experience the cultural features of Hue, including this Hue Festival. Which is also an opportunity to gather a series of unique artistic activities and entertainment programs. Hue Festival takes place and is also the moment when Hue Imperial Citadel, as well as the whole city dresses in a brilliant, splendid and colorful coat. This new coat of Hue is no different from the royal palace when decorated with colorful lanterns and electric lights.

Photo of Hue Imperial Citadel

4. How to get to Hue Imperial Citadel?

Hue Imperial Palace is located on the Huong River, in the heart of Hue city. So you can easily get here by many means such as bicycles, motorbikes, cyclos, trams, taxis,…

In case of traveling by motorbike or personal car, you can depart from Hue city center and reach the Citadel by following the south bank of the Huong River, crossing Phu Xuan bridge to Le Duan street. Then, you turn right onto Cua Quang Duc street, cross the bridge and continue moving, you will reach 23/8 street, turn right to go to Hue Imperial Palace.

5. Opening hours of Hue Imperial Palace

  • Summer: from 06:30 to 17:30, every day of the week (from Monday to Sunday).
  • Winter: from 07:00 to 17:00, every day of the week (from Monday to Sunday).

Urn in Hue Imperial Citadel

6. History of Hue Imperial Citadel

In 1803, when King Gia Long ascended the throne, he realized that Hue was a peaceful and poetic place along the Huong River. From then on, King Gia Long came up with the idea of choosing this land as the ancient capital of the Nguyen Dynasty. After 30 years of construction and much effort, the entire new capital project was officially completed. Hue Imperial Palace has a charming beauty, in harmony with the beauty of nature.

Hue Imperial Palace has two main areas: the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden City, each area includes many different works.

imperial city hue map

7. Exploring the beauty of Hue Imperial Citadel

7.1 Imperial Citadel area

7.1.1 Ngo Mon (The South Gate)

Ngo Mon Gate or South Gate is a massive, majestic construction with extremely elaborate, sophisticated and solid patterns. Ngo Mon is not simply the entrance gate but also the representative face of the Hue Royal Citadel. So it is designed with many layers with a surrounding moat system.

The Ngo Mon Gate of Hue Imperial Citadel looks south of the citadel. From the Ngo Mon position, we can see the Huong River in the distance. The Ngo Mon Gate of the Imperial Citadel area will have 5 gates located here, of which the main gate in the middle was once for the king, and the two side gates were for civil and martial mandarins. The remaining area of the two surrounding gates is for soldiers, elephants and horses to follow the king to protect and serve him.

Spent nearly 2 centuries and witnessed many historical events recorded in the books of the country’s people. Ngo Mon Gate still exists over time and has become an excellent ancient architectural masterpiece. It is also a living witness to many important milestones in the nation’s history.

7.1.2 Thai Hoa Palace

Thai Hoa Palace is a symbol of the power of the Nguyen Dynasty at that time, located in the Imperial Citadel area of Hue Imperial Palace. Thai Hoa Palace is the most important building in the overall Imperial Citadel of Hue. This place and Dai Trieu Nghi yard were once the place where court meetings of the Nguyen Dynasty took place. Most of which were court meetings.

Thai Hoa Palace is the most prominent highlight of Hue royal architectural art. The main material used to build the palace is ironwood. The roof, columns, etc. are carved with delicate, meticulous dragon shapes. In the middle of the palace is the king’s throne placed in a solemn position, where the king sits during court meetings.

7.2 Forbidden City area

7.2.1 Dai Cung Mon

Dai Cung Mon is the main door (south) into the Forbidden City, consisting of 5 compartments and 3 doors. It was built from the reign of King Minh Mang, in 1833. The door in the middle compartment is only for the king to enter, the back on both sides has two corridors connecting Ta Vu and Huu Vu. Dai Cung Mon overlooks the front yard towards Thai Hoa Palace, built entirely of wood, topped with lapis lazuli tiles. Dai Cung Mon was destroyed during the war and the local authority is currently researching to restore it.

7.2.2 Ta Vu and Huu Vu

Ta Vu and Huu Vu are two buildings right opposite Can Chanh palace, built in the early 19th century. Ta Vu building is a place for literary mandarins, Huu Vu is a place for military mandarins in the court.These two buildings are the place to prepare for rituals before the court, where competitions and banquets took palace. These two buildings are the few remaining structures after the war. Today Ta Vu is used to display artifacts, Huu Vu has become a place for tourists to visit and take photos.

7.2.3 Can Chanh Palace

Can Chanh Palace is located directly with Thai Hoa Palace in the North-South direction. This is the place for the king to hold court. Can Chanh Palace is the largest and most beautiful wooden structure in the entire Forbidden City. The columns are made of ironwood, the upper frame is delicately and elaborately carved.

7.2.4 Thai Binh Lau

Thai Binh Lau is located inside the Forbidden City of Hue Citadel. This place will be used for the king to rest in his free time, read books, write or compose poetry to relax, a very wonderful scene for the kings. Thai Binh Lau was built in 1919 by King Khai Dinh and completed in 1921.

7.2.5 Dien Tho Palace

Among the many palaces in the Hue Imperial Citadel, Dien Tho Palace is considered the largest palace architectural system in Hue that remains intact today. This place used to be the residence of the Queen Mother and the Queen Mother, powerful women next to the King.

8. Activities and experiences in Hue Imperial Citadel

8.1 Exploring the buildings and architecture of the Citadel by cyclo

An extremely interesting experience when coming to Hue that you must definitely try is renting a cyclo to visit the Hue Imperial Palace area. A more reasonable choice for those who are lazy to walk or are tired from having to walk too much in such a large area of Hue Imperial Citadel. This is also a way for you to save time and still be able to discover all the beauty when visiting the buildings in Hue Imperial Palace.

The price of cyclos is also very cheap, ranging from 50,000 VND – 80,000 VND for a trip around the Hue Citadel area. Renting a cyclo to move around will help you not worry about getting lost. But feel comfortable to explore this place and also help protect the environment.

8.2 Visiting the system of mausoleums and palaces of kings in Hue Citadel

In Hue Imperial City, there are many places for you to visit including mausoleums, palaces of kings and royal families, and temples. You can explore and learn about the beauty and history of the palaces and monuments in the Hue Imperial Palace. These works also demonstrate the artistry of Vietnam ‘s dynasty. The aesthetics of Vietnamese ancestors in the past in a way that future generations need to inherit and promote.

8.3 Admiring the brilliant lights of Hue Imperial Citadel at night

At night is also an extremely ideal time to see the beauty of Hue Imperial Palace. When it is lit up with extremely bright lights at night. Especially the area in front of the city gate is the Hue Citadel Flagpole. This place will always be hustling and bustling with Hue people coming here to walk and enjoy the cool air at night, a scene reminiscent of ancient features.

The night scene of the Hue Imperial Citadel has sparkling colorful electric lights, so it becomes very beautiful and splendid. Someone once compared this place to an ancient town right in the heart of dreamy Hue.

8.4 Enjoying delicious cups of tea at Dien Tho palace

An interesting place is Dien Tho palace located in the Imperial Citadel area. You will experience an exciting activity, enjoying old tea in the royal garden, admiring the beautiful scenery and peace. Which is very suitable for those who like elegant fun and less noisy space.

8.5 Participating in royal festival activities in the Citadel area

Hue has long been a place that preserves the long-standing cultural traditions of Vietnam’s ancient feudal dynasty. Especially with the royal culture handed down from the Nguyen Dynasty until now, its value is still intact. Royal festivals are an extremely interesting activity that attracts many tourists every time they come to Hue.

If you come to Hue during the festival season, you will admire a new scene at the Hue Imperial Palace. Hue Festival is held every year in April or June for many generations. The atmosphere is vibrant and bustling, nostalgic with many unique art performances attracting local people as well as numerous tourists.

8.6 Taking photos at Hue Imperial Citadel

The ancient and majestic scenery of Hue Imperial Palace will help you have unique check-in photos, tinged with nostalgia. In addition, you can rent royal costumes at Huu Vu’s house to take souvenir photos and have interesting transformation moments in the royal palace.

8.7 Going to Duyet Thi Duong to watch royal music performances

Enjoying Hue royal court music in the ancient space of Duyet Thi Duong is an experience that you should not miss when you have the opportunity to come to Hue Citadel. The performances are elaborately choreographed and performed for about 35 minutes. The show creates special appeal thanks to the unique artistic materials in the splendid royal architectural space.

9. Some other famous tourist attractions near Hue Citadel

After the journey to visit Hue Imperial Citadel, you can combine visits to many famous nearby destinations to better understand the ancient capital and have more diverse experiences such as:

  • Thien Mu Pagoda.
  • Huong river.
  • Truong Tien Bridge.
  • Hue Walking Street.
  • Thien Lam Pagoda.
  • Vong Canh Hill Hue.

10. Specialties when visiting Hue Imperial Palace

During your trip to Hue Imperial Citadel and traveling around the ancient capital, you will discover a world of unique cuisine with its own attractive flavors. Some delicious Hue specialties that you must try include: mussel rice, Hue beef noodle soup, Banh Hoi, Hue sweet soup, Banh Beo, tapioca cake, roasted pork roll,…

11. Accommodation when traveling to Hue Imperial Citadel

When traveling to Hue Imperial Palace, you can refer to some accommodations below:

11.1 Hotels:

Hotels in Hue are of great interest thanks to their affordable prices, plus beautiful locations – most are located in the central area, or near famous tourist destinations:

  • Golden Star Villa Hue.
  • Cherish Hotel Hue.
  • Thanh Uyen Hue Hotel.
  • Villa Hue.
  • Cherry Hotel Hue.
  • Rosaleen Boutique Hotel.
  • Indochine Palace Hotel.
  • Imperial Hue Hotel.
  • Eldora Hotel.

11.2 Homestays:

For young tourists who travel in the form of discovery, want to save money but still like a great place to stop, go straight to the hostels and homestays in Hue. What’s better than staying at a very affordable price, you still have the opportunity to own a lovely, small but cozy place to rest, right in the center of Hue city.

  • Deja Vu Homestay.
  • Mosaic Garden.
  • April Hostel.
  • EMT Homestay.
  • Branchiee Homestay.

12. Some important notes when visiting Hue Imperial Palace

To fully visit Hue Imperial Citadel and have the best experience, you need to clearly understand the following important notes:

  • You need to prepare a map in advance and carefully study the tour route to avoid getting lost and wasting time.
  • Clothing should be polite and neat to easily move around the large campus, avoiding offensive poses.
  • Need to comply with sightseeing regulations, do not touch artifacts. Avoid breaking branches, picking flowers and avoid making noise or playing around in the sanctuary.
  • Need to comply with ticket purchasing regulations, each person buys their own ticket and has it on hand so that ticket checking can be done quickly.
  • Paying attention to maintaining general hygiene and do not throw or litter indiscriminately. There are many trash cans around the walkways inside the Hue Citadel and you should pay attention to maintain hygiene.
  • Filming and photography are not allowed in the interior, nor are you allowed to touch the artifacts.
  • If you are traveling in a group and want snow whitening service at the attraction, you need to contact the Monument Management Board in advance.

With its massive architectural system and beautiful landscape, Hue Imperial Palace is one of the most attractive destinations in the ancient capital. Coming to the Hue Imperial Citadel, you will experience a wonderful sightseeing journey, helping you better understand architecture, ancient royal life. You can also participate in many unique activities, giving you unique experiences.

With the above experiences of traveling to Hue Citadel, Origin Vietnam – a professional tour operator. We are pleased to accompany you on your tours in Hue to explore the charm of Imperial Palace, it will bring you a truly enjoyable trip full of wonderful experiences.

Private Hue Tour Package 5 days

This excursion itinerary encompasses no less than 3 UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites. The sixteenth century silk course trading port of Hoi An. Beside My Son holy land, the sacred remains of the ancient Cham civilization. Specially the imperial city of Hue. The region is rich in natural culture and history. This tailored tour as such has tremendous long term potential for the development of road tourism during the Indochina region.
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