Hue Citadel. Palaces, temples and attractions of the Hue Citadel. History of the Hue Citadel. Visiting hours of the Citadel. Map of the Imperial City of Hue. Map of Hue Citadel. Points of interest in the citadel of Hue: Imperial City (Forbidden City). Noon Gate. Dynastic Urns Citadel. DMZ sacred canyons

Hue Citadel

Hue Citadel

The Citadel of Hue (Kinh thanh hue), is a large fortress built in the 17TH century (year 1805) mandated by Emperor Gia Long in the city of Hue in Central Vietnam. This huge and magnificent monument has been designed combining the concepts of Chinese geomancy (the best example is The forbidden city in Beijing) and the military principles of the French architect Sébastien de Vauban. The resulting final set are precious palaces, beautiful temples melted between walls, ramparts and moats, which coexist in total harmony.

Hue citadel
Citadel Hue, Vietnam
Imperial Citadel Hue, Vietnam

In its interior, temples, palaces, gardens, Lakes, Gates, bridges, we await a Royal Theatre and a library.

The Citadel of Hue Heritage

This beautiful place was declared World Heritage by Unesco in the year 1993.

Vietnamese girls. Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)
Vietnamese girls walking through the Citadel of Hue

Features of the Hue Citadel

The perimeter which originally comprised the Citadel of Hue were 10 square kilometres (520 hectares), surrounded by walls in which 10 Gates allowed access to the interior of this restricted place.

Hue Citadel
Hue Citadel

Indoor enclosures of Hue Citadel

Inside the Citadel in turn encloses three enclosures:
  • The Imperial City (Hoàng Thành)
  • The civic city or Capital (Kinh Thành)
  • The Forbidden City (Tử Cấm Thành)

Temples, palaces and places of interest within the Citadel

Hung Mieu Temple
Temple Hung Mieu (Hung Miếu), whose appearance find it me similar to the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, is a temple built in honor to the parents of the Emperor. Spotlight, their carved roofs and a few stone dragons that welcomed us a huge courtyard of pavers.

Hung Mieu Temple. Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)
Hung Mieu Temple. Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)

The Emperor Minh Mang was responsible for the construction of this temple, in the year 1821, dedicated to the memory of their ancestors. This temple was known throughout the country for its elegant design and also the carvings that decorate the ceilings.
Because of the many wars that ravaged the area in 1947 was damaged by fire. Later it has been restored for the enjoyment of tourists and visitors.

Hung Mieu Temple entrance. Hue Citadel
Hung Mieu Temple Entrance to the Citadel of Hue

Hung Mieu Temple Gate. Hue Citadel
Hung Mieu Temple Gate inside the Citadel of Hue

Dien Tho Residence
After Temple Hung Mieu Dien Tho residence (Cung Dien tho or Residence of the lasting longevity), is located at she lived the Queen Mother, fact that earned him the nickname of Residence of the mother Queens, although the Vietnamese also call this place the Dien Tho Palace.

Vietnamese suit and hat in Hue Citadel
Vintage Photo: Vietnamese women wearing the Vietnamese costume (Ao Dai) And the Vietnamese hat (non La) By Hue Citadel

The residence was built in the year 1803, during the reign of Emperor Gia Long.
This part of the complex is completely surrounded by walls, although in ancient times a system of corridors and tunnels connecting it directly with the Forbidden purple city. It has access from the South through the gate called Door Tho Chi (Toàn tho Hệ or Gate of eternal happiness).

Hung Mieu Temple
Hung Mieu Temple inside the Citadel of Hue

Hung Mieu Temple Gardens
Hung Mieu Temple Gardens, Hue, Vietnam

To access the Residence of the mother Queens from the interior of the Citadel of Hue, have to cross this beautiful door, called Duc Chuong gate (Cửa Chương Đức).

Duc Chuong Gate. Citadel of Hue, Vietnam
Duc Chuong Gate. Mother Queens residence. Citadel of Hue, Vietnam

The Mieu Temple
In the southwestern part of the Citadel of Hue, Temple The Mieu rises. Its name in Vietnamese is Thế Miếu, or Temple of generations and although the Nguyen dynasty. In its interior we can contemplate altars in memory of the different emperors (from until the Emperor Khai Dinh Emperor Gia Long), these altars in antiquity were surrounded by offerings, especially gold ingots (for obvious reasons, at present these offerings have been replaced by golden decoration). The roof of the temple has a yellow color with endings in the form of the squash blossoms.

The Mieu Temple. Imperial City of Hue (Vietnam)
The Mieu Temple. Imperial City of Hue (Vietnam)

Hien Lam Pavilion
Right in front of the Temple The Mieu have the Hien Lam Pavilion (Hiển Lâm Các). Dates of the year 1824, built by order of Emperor Minh Mang in memory and at the same time, by way of honour, of all those who contributed to the Nguyen dynasty was found in the position and the status he enjoyed in the 19th century.

Hien Lam Pavilion. Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)
Hien Lam Pavilion at the Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)

The Hien Lam Pavilion is a kind of porch of pyramidal shape, 3 floors tall (what a total of 17 meters and 300 m 2 of floor), built in brick and wood. Both panels of the facade and the beams of the Pavilion are carved with dragons, flowers and leaves.
The first floor is divided into 5 rooms, a small staircase that gives access to the second floor and 24 columns that support the weight of the entire structure. The second floor has only 3 rooms and the third, just 1. The Hien Lam Pavilion has a total of 12 roofs.

Hien Lam Pavilion. Hue Imperial City (Vietnam)
Hien Lam Pavilion. Imperial City of Hue (Vietnam)

As a curiosity we will say that the Hien Lam Pavilion is the tallest of all the Citadel, since the Emperor issued as a standard that no other building would beat it in height. This standard was issued as a sign of respect to the ancestors who honored the dynasty.

The nine Dynastic Urns Hien Lam Pavilion
Across the courtyard of the temple The Mieu in direction to the Pavilion Hein Lam can contemplate 9 dynastic urns. These polls are Funerary urns made entirely in bronze, with a minimum height of 2.3 meters and weighing 2 tons each, have been decorated with floral motifs and traditional symbols of Vietnamese culture. They represent 9 emperors in Vietnam and in ancient times played an important role in many ceremonies of worship to ancestors. Any other within them, is not since they were emptied during the years 1835 and 1837.

Urns Hien Lam Temple at the Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)
Hien Lam Temple Urns Citadel in Hue (Vietnam)

Urns of the Imperial City of Hue (Vietnam)
Urns of the Imperial City of Hue (Vietnam)

Urns of the Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)
Urns of the Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)

Thai Hoa Palace
Also called the Palace of Supreme Harmony (Điện Thai Hoa). In its interior is the throne of the Nguyen emperors. The most striking feature of this Palace are the 80 columns of Red lacquered wood. These columns have recorded the emblem of the Nguyen dynasty: a golden dragon.

Thai Hoa Palace. Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)
Thai Hoa Palace. Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)

Built in the year 1805 by Emperor Gia Long, has been the scene of coronations, Royal birthdays, receptions of ambassadors and other solemn events. The reason is very simple, the Thai Hoa Palace is the most impressive Palace of every Hue.
Access to the interior of this solemn place was reserved for more experienced mandarins, the rest should remain at the gates.

Supreme Harmony Palace. Imperial City. Hue (Vietnam)
Supreme Harmony Palace. Imperial City. Hue (Vietnam)

The roofs are crowned with 9 dragons, made by the best artisans of the time.

Supreme Harmony Palace. Hue Citadel
Palace of Supreme Harmony. Hue Citadel

Supreme Harmony Palace. Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)
Palace of Supreme Harmony. Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)

Thai Hoa Palace. Hue Imperial City (Vietnam)
Thai Hoa Palace. Imperial City of Hue (Vietnam)

Teatro Real
Teatro Real
It is a small structure, built in the year 1826,
whose roofs resemble curved roofs of pagodas. The exterior is yellow and inside are columns of lacquered wood that have been decorated with the same symbols and emblems than other parts of the Citadel: the golden dragon of the Nguyen dynasty.

He served as entertainment for the Emperor and the Royal Court. It has been the stage for theatrical performances, Vietnamese traidicional music and dance traditions such as Nha Nhac (Nha nhạc in Vietnamese).

Royal Library
Northeast of the Citadel of Hue, close to the Teatro Real, have the
Royal Library
(Thái Bình Lâu), built in the year 1821 by Emperor Minh Mang, which was used as a private reading room. Surrounded by a pond and small gardens, today used as a theater for small musical performances and theatre shows.

Emperor Reading Room (Tahi Binh Lau). Hue Citadel. Imperial City of Hue
Emperor's Reading Room. Citadel of Hue (Hue Imperial City)

This small building of 2 floors in height, 10 m high, 32 meters long and 59 meters wide, was one of the few buildings that remained intact after the wars in Indochina. It's a building unique within the Citadel of Hue, which is decorated with ceramic mosaics, instead of lacquered wood. Hue residents say its decoration rivaled the balcony of 5 Phoenix decoration.

Forbidden City
Built between the years 1802 to 1833, receive the name of Forbidden purple city by the fact of that the emperor was the only man who could enter this Hall 10 hectares. Any man who would dare to go beyond just the threshold, was sentenced to death.
The only people allowed to remain inside it was the Queen Mother, empresses, servants, concubines and eunuchs of the court.

Forbidden City. Hue, Vietnam
Forbidden City. Citadel of Hue (Hue Imperial City)

It was badly damaged during the Tet offensive (year 1968), and it is said that in ancient times it had more than 60 buildings. Inside saves a beautiful pond covered by Lotus flowers.

Walls of the Citadel of Hue

The walls surrounding the complex are molded according to the Perfume River (Sông Hương or Hương Giang), therefore one of the walls is not straight. Originally the wall was built using land, but it was later reinforced by a layer of 2 metres of brick. The height of the wall is 6 meters.

Trenches Hue Citadel

Moats, zig-zag-shaped, measure 30 meters wide and have 4 meters in depth.

Pit Hue Citadel
Pit Hue Citadel

Moat of the Imperial City of Hue (Vietnam)
Moat of the Imperial City of Hue

Gates of the Citadel of Hue

Door in Vietnamese says Toàn, therefore all the names that we will see during the visit to the Citadel of Hue, that they will be in Vietnamese, begin by CUA. The gates of the Citadel are known around Vietnam by a particular name, however, in the city of Hue have some name, such name will put them between parentheses. We will naming the doors following the clockwise:
  • Toàn Thể Nhân (toàn Ngăn)
  • Toàn Quang Đức (toàn trong)
  • Toàn Chiến Nam (CUA Nha Đồ): South Gate
  • Toàn Tay Nam (toàn Hữu): Door Southwest
  • Toàn Chinh Tay (toàn Chanh Tây): West Gate
  • Toàn Tây Bắc (An Hoa toàn): Door Northwest
  • Toàn Chiến Bắc (toàn Ngực or toàn Mang Cá kiểu): North Gate
  • CUA BAC Đong (toàn Trai or toàn Mang Cá devices): Northeast door
  • Chinh CUA Đong (toàn Đong Ba): Door East
  • CUA Nam Đong (toàn Thượng Tứ): Southeast door

Doors to the Forbidden City
South gate. Imperial City of HueOnce inside the Citadel of Hue, to enter the Forbidden City, we have 4 hits:
  • Toàn Ngọ Mon or Noon gate, located in the southern part of the Forbidden City.
  • Toàn Hoa Binh or Door of peace, to the North of the forbidden city.
  • Cửa Chương Đức, on the West side.
  • Toàn Hiển Nhon, to the East.

Cua Ngo Mon Gate or Noon Gate
Without a doubt, the door at the same time and most famous, the most beautiful, that allow access to the inside of The forbidden city of Hue is the
Noon Gate
This door has 5 entrances:
  • Central access: exclusively destined for the emperor.
  • Two adjacent access: for the Council of the Emperor (mandarins).
  • Two exterior accesses: served for the passage of the soldiers, horses, elephants and war machinery.
This door has dimensions, in its lower part, of 5 meter height and 27 meters wide. At the top, the Balcony of the Phoenix five.

Lau Ngu Phung: The Balcony of the Five Phoenix

Building which is located above the noon gate named Lầu Ngũ Phụng or Balcony of the Phoenix five (in English Belvedere of the Five Phoenixes). No woman access to this observation point, where the Emperor and mandarins presiding official acts, watched the maneuvers of the army and were celebrated in antiquity was not allowed important moments of the lunar calendar.
It is a 2 story structure, supported to 1.14 meters above the noon gate, whose roofs divided into 9 parts, are finished in yellow and emerald green shingles.

Balcon of 5 Fenix ​​. Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)
Balcony of the 5 Phoenix. Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)

Balcony of the 5 Phoenix
It has a niche in the history of Vietnam, already was the place chosen by the last emperor of Vietnam, the Emperor Bao Dai to abdicate in favour of the reveldes (led by Ho Chi Minh), on 30 August 1945, abdication, Emperor sailed to France and lived there until the end of his days.

Bridges Hue Citadel
Bridges allow crossing the River has Ngu (Ngự Hà).
  • Cau Quan Thanh Thuy Đông
  • Cau Ngu Hà
  • CAU Ninh Khánh
  • CAU Vinh Loi
  • Cau Quan Thanh Thuy Tây

Gate and Bridge in the Forbidden City of Hue
Gate and Bridge in the Forbidden City of Hue (Vietnam)

Flag Hue Citadel

Flag Tower: Cot Co
Vietnam flag flies high on the
Flag Tower
(Cột Cờ), 37 meters in height. The Tower resembles the Tower of the Hanoi Citadel and the flag always reminds me of the flag of the park next to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

Citadel of Hue Vietnam Flag
Citadel of Hue: Vietnam flag waving on top of the Tower

Sacred Canyons of the Hue Citadel

Hue Citadel is protected by
9 sacred canons
made of bronze. The Emperor Gia Long ordered these guns guard it the city in 1803, this protection is a symbolic protection.
9 Cannons sacred they represent the 4 seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn and winter) and the 5 elements (Earth, fire, water, metal and wood).

Sacred Canyons of the Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)
Sacred Canyons of the Citadel of Hue (Vietnam)

Citadel of Hue during the War

Restoration work at the Citadel of Hue

Due to the various wars that ravaged the area known as Indochina the Citadel of Hue suffered multiple damage throughout history. Palacios burned by flames, areas in restoration and unfortunately can be seen today, a part of the complex was lost because of the bombings. However, the restoration works have managed to return a portion of the beauty and the lost greatness.

State after the Vietnam War of the Citadel of Hue
State after the Vietnam War of the Citadel of Hue

Restoration work at the Citadel in Hue, Vietnam
Restoration work at the Citadel in Hue, Vietnam

Location of the Hue Citadel

Hue Citadel
It is located in the city of Hue (Huế), in the center of Vietnam. Hue is the capital city of Thừa Thiên province, along the Perfume River (Song Huong).

Map of Hue Citadel

Visiting Hours

Visiting hours are 8:00 to 17:00 every day of the week, except for official events and celebrations.

Price of the visit to the Citadel of Hue

Access is free, however the entrance to the forbidden city by door Ngo Mon (Ngọ Môn or Noon gate) entails paying a symbolic price.

Visit the Imperial City of Hue, Vietnam
Visit the Imperial City of Hue

Map of Hue Citadel

Here's a tour of the Citadel of Hue map, where the points of interest are highlighted the different gates of the Citadel and also includes a map of the Imperial City of Hue.

Map Citadel Hue (Hue Imperial City Tourist Map)
Map Citadel Hue (Hue Imperial City Tourist Map)

Tourist map of the Imperial City of Hue
Model Hue Citadel by way of Hue Imperial City Tourist Map

Curiosities on the Hue Citadel


Entering the Imperial City of Hue without permission are punished with death.

Flag Hue Citadel

Tet offensive
In 1968, the city of Hue fell into the hands of North Vietnam, and for 25 days, the North Vietnamese flag flew atop the tower. Taking advantage of the celebration of the lunar new year (Tết), aviation South Vietnamese and American artillery bombarded the Citadel, which was completely destroyed. This moment of the battle is known as The Tet offensive.

Flag Citadel of Hue, Vietnam
Flag Citadel of Hue, Vietnam

Vietnam Flag. Imperial City. Hue, Vietnam
Vietnam Flag. Imperial City. Hue, Vietnam

Related Hue Citadel