Imperial Ruins at Hue
12/18/2005
The city of Hue rose to prominence as the capital of the Nguyen monarchy, a feudal dynasty that came to dominate much of southern Vietnam in the early 19th century. Emperor Gia Long succeeded in establishing his control over the whole of Vietnam and defeating the old Emperor, who tried to retake the country with a Chinese army. Gia Long made Hue the national capital, and the city retained this status until 1945.


The entrance to the Purple Imperial Palace.

Gia Long tolerated Christians and worked with the French while admiring Chinese culture and customs. But his heirs were less tolerant and aggravated the French, who had established a strong military, commercial, and religious presence in the continent. The country, and later the entire southeast Asian region, came under the control of the French. The Nguyen dynasty remained nominal rulers but held little real power. The emperors thus occupied themselves with organizing a grand palace and fantastic tombs that dot the banks of the Perfume River that flows through Hue. Four pictures of the tombs and the accompanying structures follow.

The Nguyen dynasty modeled itself on the Chinese emperors, and there is even a Forbidden City inside the Hue Palace. In English, the Vietnamese Forbidden City is known as the "Purple Forbidden City." However, don't be confused -- the Chinese characters for the Forbidden City in Beijing and Hue are the same, and both include the character for purple.


An outer building of the palace...


and an inner building.

During the Vietnam War, Hue's central position placed it near the border and it saw heavy fighting and shelling.


An outer building of the Purple Imperial Palace.

Lirelou weighs in once again:

During the 1968 Tet offensive, the NVA took Hue by surprise and occupied the citadel, which they held for several months. Prior to this, the citadel was pretty much intact (if run down). There is a great Australian Army training film which comments that "while the U.S. Marines took all the credit, the majority of the fighting was waged by the ARVN." The 1st and 2nd ARVN divisions in Quang Tri and Quang Ngai had both American and Australian advisors. Danang was the headquarters of the Australian Army Training Team - Vietnam.

I have so many pictures to post, so I'll let you choose what you want to see by clicking the thumbs here and on the next page.

The ornamental roof of one building. A broken path within the Forbidden City. A pavilion and pillars. The pleasures of perspective.
A dragon stands guard at the gate. An open hallway through the ruins. A very imperial entrance. Curzon in Hue.

On to the next entry...

c. 2006