Hue Citadel is located in Hue city, Thua Thien-Hue province, Vietnam. The construction commenced in 1804, King Gia Long time. It hasn’t been finish until 1833, King Minh Mang time with 147 big and small constructions.
The citadel has function protecting the most important palaces of the court, shrines of Nguyen dynasty’s ancestor and the palaces where the kings and their family lived.
Looking from the plane, people can see the citadel has the mostly square surface. The side is about 600m. It has surrounding brick made fence with the height of 4 meters, thickness of 1 meter. There are four gates used for going out or going in: the main gate (to the south) which is called Ngo Mon, the East which has Hien Nhon gate, the West which has Chuong Duc gate, the North which has Hoa Binh gate. Inside the citadel there is a protecting trench system and the constructions are arranged in good order.
Although there are many small and big constructions, all of them are among nature with lakes, flower gardens, stone bridges, islets and big old trees spread shade through years. Although the sizes of constructions are different, generally the palaces here follow house style having two roofs one foundation. The buildings stand on high foundation connected from blue stones. The floors are cover with Bat Trang bricks (Bat Trang is the name of a village in Northern Vietnam), the roofs are made of tube tiles enameled blue or yellow. These tiles are only for kings. The pillars are painted dragon and cloud shapes. The interior of palaces has poems and pictures or wood pieces carved four-season pictures.
Hien Nhon Gate
Coming Hue Citadel, we can visit the following constructions:
1. Ngo Mon Gate
Ngo Mon Gate is in South Hue Citadel. It is the biggest gate of four gates of Hue Citadel and It was only for kings. It was built in 1834, King Minh Mang time.
Ngo Mon Gate
2. Thai Hoa Temple and Dai Trieu Nghi Yard
Thai Hoa Temple is in Hue Citadel. The temple and Dai Trieu Nghi Yard were for important ceremonies such as coronations, birthdays of kings, ambassador meetings, regularly large meetings on the first and the fifteenth of months of lunar.
In feudal system, this palace was considered to be the center of the nation before. It was built in 1805, King Gia Long time. In 1833, King Minh Mang move it to the south. It became more monumental and magnificent.
Thai Hoa Temple and Dai Trieu Nghi Yard
3. Dien Tho Palace
Dien Tho Palace was built in 1803. It was place dowager empress lived.
Dien Tho Palace
4. Truong Sanh Palace
The palace was built in the northwest citadel in 1821, King Minh Mang time. It was arrange into the seventh level of the beauty-spots in the capital by King Tu Tri.
Truong Sanh Palace
5. Hung Shrine
Hung Shrine was the shrine worshiping Gia Long‘s parents as Nguyen Phuc Luan and Nguyen Thi Hoan. It is located in the south citadel, from The To Shrine 50m.
6. The To Shrine
The shrine is located in the southwest citadel where worshiped the kings of Nguyen dynasty. This is the palace the court coming to pray, female did not take part in.
The To Shrine
7. Trieu To Shrine
The shrine was built in 1804, in King Gia Long time. It worshiped Nguyen Kim, the father of Nguyen Hoang.
Trieu To Shrine
8. Thai To Shrine
The shrine worships Nguyen lords from Nguyen Hoang to Nguyen Phuc Thuan. It was built in 1804, in Gia Long time.
Thai To Shrine
9. Hien Lam Cac
Hien Lam Cac was built in 1821, in King Minh Mang time with the height of 17m. This construction is the highest in the citadel. This is the monument remembering achievements of Nguyen dynasty kings and ministers.
Hien Lam Cac
10. Cuu Dinh
Cuu Dinh is nine bronze dings put in front of Hien Lam Cac. All of them were made from 1835 to 1837. Each ding has a private name after a king of Nguyen dynasty. They have different weights and their caved shapes are also different.
11. Phung Tien Temple
The temple is near Chuong Duc gate made by King Gia Long and King Minh Mang. It was used for worshiping Nguyen dynasty’s kings. Different from The To Shrine, this temple also worshiped Nguyen dynasty’s kings and queens, but female could come here to pray. In 1947, total temple was burnt. Now it is existed only the three-way gate and the surrounding wall.
Phung Tien Temple
Hue has become a great landscape and architectural site. Hue Citadel has been officially recognized by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
To understand the lives and activities of kings and dip the body in ancient atmosphere, When coming to Viet Nam you cannot miss Hue Citadel visit.