10:17:18 AM | 6/5/2006
Thua Thien Hue panorama features mountains, highlands, delta, lagoons and sea from west to east. Currently, Hue is defined as a culture and tourism city, typical of Vietnam in particular and the world in general.
The Hue Imperial City was built in 1805 and was finished in 27 years. Inside the Hue Imperial City was the Royal Citadel, from where the feudal administration ruled the country and held national rituals. The main entrance of the Royal Citadel was the Ngo Mon Gate in the south. On the Ngo Mon ground was laid the wooden Ngu Phung Mansion with 100 gilded poles, which represented “one hundred clans”, or the whole population of the country. In this mansion, there were large bells and drums to perform important rituals. This typical architectural project was built in 1833 during the Minh Mang King’s reign. The land area of the Royal Citadel was 36 ha divided into many squares.
The Forbidden City, which was at the centre of the Royal Citadel, accommodated kings, queens, concubines and servants. During the most prosperous period, the Hue Imperial City had 147 architectural and artistic projects. The existing works comprise of Thai Hoa Palace, Royal Temple and Long An Palace.
Nguyen King Tombs
The king was named “the God’s son”. The god’s son was symbolised by the sun, rising in the east and setting in the west. Therefore, all Nguyen King tombs were in the west of the Hue Imperial City, except for An Lang Tomb, where King Duc Duc, King Thanh Thai and King Duy Tan were buried unexpectedly.
Gia Long was the founder of the Nguyen Dynasty. Thus, his tomb was placed upstream of the Huong (Perfume) River. Tombs of Minh Mang King, Thieu Tri King and Tu Duc King were in lower streams. Peculiarly, Khai Dinh King Tomb was situated far from the Huong River because of his renovated thinking. The tomb of Khai Dinh King, who reigned while the French ruled Vietnam, was built in the Western style.
In general, all Nguyen King tombs had gathering grounds, stone statues, stone steles and graves.
The Huong River, or Perfume River, has become a symbol of Hue. This is the largest river in Thua Thien Hue. The 80-km river originates from an over 1,000-m high mountain on the Vietnam-Laos borderline. The peaceful and mysterious Huong River is compared to a typical Hue girl. Many poets sublimated when they visited Huong River, the pride of the Hue people.
Any visit to Hue would be incomplete if visitors without listening to Hue songs on upriver imperial boats on the Huong River.
Ngu Mount or Ngu Binh Mount is situated in the southeast of Hue City and is three kilometres from the Ngo Mon Gate. Ngu Binh Mount is regarded as a screen for the Imperial Citadel. The 105-m flat mount has a shape like an equal-sided trapezium. Previously, the Ngu Mount was called Bang Mount and was renamed in the Gia Long King’s regime. From the top, visitors can view the entire scenery of the former capital city. Two sides of the mount are covered with luxurious pine trees.
Ngu Binh Mount has also become a symbol of Hue, represented in the song, “Huong River, Ngu Mount”.
Vong Canh Hill
The Vong Canh Hill, or Scenery View Hill, is 7km off Hue City to the southwest. The gently sloping hill has a very special location. From the top, visitors can see the entire Hue City as looking eastward, and the King tombs by looking southward. At the foot of the hill is the peaceful Huong River. During the Nguyen Dynasty, kings and mandarins usually came here to view the beautiful scenery.
At present, Vong Canh Hill is a place of interest in Hue. Visitors can reach Vong Canh Hill by car or by imperial boat. The best time to go to the hill is at dawn or sunset.
Thuan An Beach
Thuan An Beach, 13km from Hue City to the northeast, has a total length of nearly 1km. The sandy beach is busy during summer (from April to September). Visitors are served with specialty dishes like shrimps, arca and cuttle-fish as well as traditional dishes of seafarers. The annual traditional sea festival, called Fish Worshipping Rite, was organised on the 11th and 12th days of the first month of the lunar year. Thousands of people worship at Tai Duong Communal House.