Complex of Hue Monuments

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Complex of Hue Monuments

vietnam visa   Complex of Hue Monuments 

Hue used to be the capital of unified Viet Nam in 1802, it was not only the political but also the cultural and religious centre under the Nguyen dynasty until 1945. The Perfume River winds its way through the Capital City, the Imperial City, the Forbidden Purple City and the Inner City, giving this unique feudal capital a setting of great natural beauty.

 Since 1306, the territories of Chau O and Chau Ly (comprised of Quang Tri, Thua Thien – Hue and part of Northern Quang Nam today) had the name of Thuan Hoa. Under the reign of King Le Thanh Tong, the name of “Hue” appeared for the first time. In 1636, the residence of the Nguyen Lords was settled at Kim Long (Hue). In 1687, it was transferred to Phu Xuan – where is the Citadel today. Phu Xuan became the political, economic and cultural centre of the southern part of Vietnam early in the 18th century. Then, from 1788 to 1801, it became the capital of the Tay Son Dynasty. Hue was the capital of unified Vietnam under the reign of the 13 Nguyen Kings during 150 years. At that time, architectural works of a high cultural and historic value were built: the Citadel, especially the Imperial City (including 253 constructions), 7 Royal tomb compound of 9 kings of the Nguyen Dynasty, the Esplanade of Nam Giao, the Ho Quyen arena and the Hon Chen Temple. 

The complex of royal architecture is located in the centre of Hue, along the Perfume (Huong) River’s northern bank, it represents and demonstrates the power of the Nguyen Dynasty’s centralism. Four citadels or defended enclosures made up the city: Kinh Thanh (Capital City), for official administrative buildings; Hoang Thanh (Imperial City) for royal palaces and shrines; Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Purple City) for the royal residences; Dai Noi (or Inner City); and Tran Binh Dai, an additional defensive work in the north-east corner of the Capital City, designed to control movement on the river. A fifth fortress, Tran Hai Thanh, was constructed a little later to protect the capital against assault from the sea.The fortress itself was modelled on the European style of Vauban, the first of its type in South-East Asia, but the complex suffered considerably as a result of military operations in 1885, 1947 and 1968.

            The system of walls combines sophisticatedly both eastern and western architectural styles placed in natural harmony with Ngu Binh Mount, Perfume River, Gia Vien and Boc Thanh islets. Even people implicitly consider these natural landscapes as a part of the complex.Surrounded by a square wall, almost 600 metres in length on each side, the Imperial City has four gates, of which the south gate (Ngo Mon) is most typical in construction and is widely seen and recognized as the symbol of Hue Citadel. It served not only as the main entrance but was also the place where important events of the dynasty took place. Within the area of the Imperial City, the Forbidden Citadel was the area reserved for daily activities of the royal family.

            Around the three walls of the Hue Capital Citadel is a main north-south axis, called Than dao. It was marked with the important constructions of Hue Citadel. Hundred of small and large buildings were built symmetrically along this axis in harmony with their natural surroundings gives one a feeling of gentle and serenity. These buildings include Nghinh Luong Pavilion (Pavilion for Fresh Air), Phu Van Lau , Ky Dai (Flag Tower), Ngo Mon Gate (the main entrance), Thai Hoa Palace (The Throne Palace, or Palace of the Supreme Harmony, was the building for great court’s meetings), Can Chanh Palace (the place for every day working of Emperors), Khon Thai Residence (Queen’s Private Apartment), Kien Trung Pavilion (the place for daily activities of Emperors)…

At the heart of the complex, there are brick walls surrounding the Forbidden Purple City. The wall in front is a single gate for the use of the king, and the other walls have several entrances, each with a specific purpose. Originally there were over 40 buildings within the walls, but most are now in ruins and only their foundations survive.

Being to the west of the Capital Citadel and along the Perfume River, are the famous royal tombs and temples, masterpieces in landscape architecture which was built by the Nguyen Dynasty. The aims of royal tombs are to create a living place for royal pleasure before becoming an eternal resting place after the king’s death. Each tomb reflects its owner’s life and character: the magnificence of Gia Long’s tomb in the immense landscape of mountains and jungles represents the spirit of a general in war; the symmetry and majesty of Minh Mang’s tomb combiners both man-made and natural mountains and lakes and reveals the powerful will and solemn nature of a talented politician who was also an orderly poet; the peaceful and sombre qualities of Thieu Tri’s tomb reflects the innermost feelings of an outstanding poet who made few achievements in political life; the romance and poetic atmosphere of Tu Duc’s tomb  evoke the elegant and subtle tendency of a poet rather than the strong characteristic of a politician.

Outside the Capital City there are several associated monuments of importance. These include the tombs of the Nguyen dynasty to the south of the Perfume River. Other structures along both banks of the river are buildings related to the spiritual life of the dynasty, including the Temple of Literature, the Esplanade of the Sacrifice to the Sun and Earth, the Royal Arena and the Temple of the Roaring Elephant, and the Celestial Lady Pagoda.

            On 11th of December 1993, the Complex of Hue Monuments was recognized as a world cultural heritage by UNESCO. Let add Vietnam visa for your luggage and take a trip to Hue, Vietnam, foreigners will know why it was recognized as the world cultural heritage.

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