< Last Photo   << Last Chapter                Notes on the Geography of Places: Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel         Next Chapter >>   Next Photo > 
 

Notes on the Geography of Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel

Hue figures only in a near-to-final chapter of Vietnam's history. It as the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam's last. Ruling from 1802 to 1945, much of that time the dynasty was a French puppet. What did its capital look like? Vietnam had been ruled directly by the Chinese for over a thousand years, and so it is no surprise that Hue was designed to look like a Chinese capital.

Make default image size larger

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 1

The citadel is roughly square, with an outer wall of about 6 miles in total length.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 2

The citadel stands on the Perfume River, and at the midpoint of the side facing the river there is a bastion with a flagpole tower. There's nothing "oriental" about the design: it's straight from the Vauban pattern book, except that the flagpole marks the south end of an axis that runs, Beijing style, through the palace grounds. Along that axis everything is symmetrically balanced.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 3

There are deviations. One is that the axis is not cardinally oriented but instead is perpendicular to the river. Another is that the main entrance facing the river is offset several hundreds yards downstream from the flagpole and axis. Still, here it is: the Tian Mon, or Front Gate.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 4

Another view.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 5

The citadel moat, with a bit of another gate peeping over the trees.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 6

Once inside the citadel, you immediately face another moat and wall, this time that of the Imperial Enclosure. Entry is through the Ngo Mon or Moon Gate, which is on the central axis. The gate may look timeless, but it was built when Andy Jackson was in the White House. Construction of the citadel as a whole spanned three decades, from 1804 until 1833.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 7

The axis beginning at the flagpole runs right through the center of this gate.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 8

The Ngu Phung Pavilion sits atop a masonry foundation. The last Nguyen emperor, Bao Dai, abdicated here in 1945.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 9

Inside the gate, the view is north across a pond, the Thai Dich Lake, to the Hall of Supreme Harmony or Thai Hoa Palace.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 10

A view from the gate-top pavilion over Thai Dich Lake, the Trung Dao Bridge, and the Hall of Supreme Harmony. Call it a budget version of the Forbidden City.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 11

Straight on.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 12

The columns are a reduced version of those in Beijing.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 13

The interior, with 80 ironwood columns, is more impressive. Audiences were held in this room on the first and 15th day of each lunar month, and there were additional ceremonies on special days such as the emperor's birthday.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 14

North of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, a courtyard is flanked right and left by identical buildings, the Halls of the Mandarins. The cauldrons are from the 17th century, which means that they were antiques before the palace was even begun.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 15

An air photo looking south over the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Trung Dao Bridge, the Moon Gate, and th4e Flagpole bastion. Beyond, the Song Hong or Perfume River.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 16

View across the courtyard.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 17

A third wall, circling the Forbidden Purple City.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 18

Gateway.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 19

The king's and queen's residences were here.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 20

Within this innermost enclosure, the only building to escape destruction in 1947, when the French reoccupied Hue, was the Thai Binh Reading Pavilion.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 21

It's in poor but recognizable shape.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 22

Ornamentation runs riot.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 23

Bits of ceramic tile are patched together.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 24

Dragon.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 25

Dragon.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 26

Dragon.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 27

A screen flanks the east side of the building.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 28

Looking southwest across a pond toward the reading room.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 29

Moat feeding the pond.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 30

Water gate leading out of the Forbidden Purple City.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 31

The western third of the Imperial Enclosure is devoted to temples and subsidiary palaces. Here, the entrance to the To Mieu Temple, where Nguyen monarchs were worshipped.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 32

Axial view.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 33

Nine dynastic urns, cast in honor of the Nguyen Dynasty kings. Precious view Vietnamese today can read the Chinese characters, by imperial order abolished as the official Vietnamese writing system in 1918.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 34

Hung Temple.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 35

The interior was restored in 1951.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 36

Hien Lam Cac, one of several places for worship of meritorious officials.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 37

The Imperial Enclosure occupies probably little more than a tenth of the area within the citadel, most of which is a very lively residential neighborhood.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 38

Streets and alleys are neatly gridded.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 39

The Ngu Ha Canal runs through the citadel north of the imperial enclosure.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 40

Another view.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 41

Market within the citadel.

Vietnam: Hue: the Citadel picture 42

The citadel's east gate is topped up with a later fortification.


www.greatmirror.com Web   
 

* Australia * Austria * Bangladesh * Belgium * Botswana * Brazil * Burma / Myanmar * Cambodia (Angkor) * Canada (B.C.) * China * The Czech Republic * Egypt * Fiji * France * Germany * Ghana * Greece * Hungary * India: Themes * Northern India * Peninsular India * Indonesia * Israel * Italy * Japan * Jerusalem * Jordan * Kenya * Laos * Kosovo * Malawi * Malaysia * Mauritius * Mexico * Morocco * Mozambique * Namibia * The Netherlands * New Zealand * Nigeria * Norway * Oman * Pakistan * The Philippines * Poland * Portugal * Senegal * Singapore * South Africa * Spain * Sri Lanka * Sudan * Syria (Aleppo) * Tanzania * Thailand * Trinidad * Turkey (Istanbul) * Uganda * The U.A.E. (Dubai) * The United Kingdom * The Eastern United States * The Western United States * Oklahoma * Uzbekistan * Vietnam * The West Bank * Yemen * Zambia * Zimbabwe *
go back to previous picture go to next chapter go to next picture go to previous chapter page