Friday 30 October 2020

Hue Attractions Pt 2: The Imperial City And Khai Dinh Imperial Tomb

Present Day Hue

Today, Hue may be a little laid-back but it was once the capital city of Vietnam. It was the residence and administrative capital of the kings who ruled Vietnam from the early 19th century until 1945 when  monarchy was brought to an end. Located right in the heart of the existing city,  Hue's Imperial City which is now uninhabited is a palace complex built in the like of a small replica of The Forbidden City in China. Despite damages and destruction caused by wars and typhoon, the general setting is well preserved and it has been listed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Adding to the list of imperial attractions are the Imperial Tombs which are scattered across Hue. I had time to visit just one.

1. The Imperial City

The Imperial City is Hue's most imposing landmark,  its citadel being visible from many parts of the present day city. Visiting Hue would thus be incomplete without taking a walk back in time on the ground where Vietnamese kings once trod. 

The Imperial City is fortified by 2 km x 2km thick high walls which is further protected by a surrounding moat (canal system) with an approximate 10 km circumference.  
There are 10  gates in the Imperial City and featured here is Ngo Mon Gate which is the main gate.
The bridge that leads to Ngo Mon Gate.

The complex features palaces, temples, courtyards, gardens and pavilions built with the typical ancient Chinese architectural designs.
Dien Thai Hoa Palace aka Palace Of Supreme Harmony built in 1805 

Throne in the Hall of Điện Thái Hòa

Within the Imperial City is Purple Forbidden City where the kings reside. 

Can Canh Palace

Corridor in Purple Forbidden City

There used to be many more buildings within the complex but these have been brought down by bombings during the war.
Another Gate
Gate of Manifest Benevolence (Cửa Hiển Nhơn)
The Royal Treasury which is now a Handicraft Factory

2. The Imperial Tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh

Hue is also home to many royal tombs. Each tomb is distinctly located away from the Imperial City. I visited one which is deemed more spectacular. 

The tomb that I visited belongs to Emperor Khai Dinh,  the twelfth Emperor of the Nguyễn Dynasty.  This tomb which took 11 years to complete is located 10 km from Hue on a hill in the village of Chau Chu. There are 127 steps to climb before reaching the tomb.

The tomb is a complex that features a courtyard with pavilions and statues of bodyguards, horses, elephants on the first level and the main building on the upper level.
The dark grey concrete structures and monuments seen in the courtyard exude a gothic and somewhat spooky feel to the complex.

On the upper level is the main building which is adorned with intricate motifs, exuding a more glamorous ambiance. 

The price of this grandeur is heavy taxation on the poor peasants, making Khai Dinh a very unpopular emperor in his time. 

Related Post: (Click To View)

Hue Attraction Pt 1: A Boat Ride Along Perfume River To Thien Mu Pagoda

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