I came to Hue during Tet Doan Ngo (Doan Ngo festival, a minor Buddhist festival) and it was impossible for me to find an open restaurant or shop in town. Vietnam’s ancient capital, booming city and a world renown tourist area, yet Hue is not at all noisy, rushed or commercialized like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Hue is honest and sweet. It is tranquil like the Perfume River that flows through it, majestic like the Royal Palace and tombs that would never let its secrets out.
To be precise, Hue city is the capital of Thue Thien – Hue province. Hue lies on the banks of the Huong (Perfume) river, in the narrow central of Vietnam, only a few miles west from the sea.
Hue first assumed its role as a capital city, during the Trinh - Nguyen civil war, when it was the capital of South Vietnam. In 1802, Nguyen Anh succeeded in unifying his rule over both North and South Vietnam, forming the Nguyen dynasty. Hue remained the capital of Vietnam until the end of feudalism in 1945.
During the Vietnam War, Hue held a strategic positioning as it was near the dividing line between North and South. The city’s elegant and refined architecture witnessed and suffered from one of the most lengthy and bloody battles in the War, the Battle of Hue (during the Tet offensive 1968). Many of Hue’s palaces, tombs and temples were destroyed by American bombs and bullets, as well as by neglect in restoration by the Vietnamese government during early years of independence (they saw these historical artifacts as remains of the oppressing feudal system).
Hue has now been returned the peace, attention and protection it clearly deserves. The remains of the Inner City (where the Royal family lived), tombs and temples offer insight into Vietnam’s past and rich culture. Hue has been certified by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Hue royal music (nha nhac cung dinh) is also considered a UNESCO intangible heritage.
Hue is the center of Buddhist worship in Vietnam, with many temples and tombs.
Hue weather and climate - information on the best time to visit the city.
Photo by sixty4coupe .All flickr photos are licensed under the Creative Commons