The Awe-inspiring Forbidden City in Hue

Asia - Editor - 19 March 2008

The Awe-inspiring Forbidden City in Hue

The city of Hue, in Vietnam, served as the imperial and capital city from 1802 to 1945 during the rule of the Nguyen Dynasty. It is a city that is steeped in royal history and is known to be the most captivating and breathtakingly beautiful destination in Vietnam. Scattered across its magnificent landscapes, three hundred year old pagodas stand as monuments to the past, tombs of ancient emperors are reminders of the city’s regal heritage and sights, such as the Forgotten City in Hue, take visitors on a spellbinding journey into a bygone era.

Due to the vast number of historical palaces, monuments and temples that are located in this picturesque city on the Song Huong River, it was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Forbidden City, also known as the Forbidden Purple City, of Hue is a sight of both splendor and heartache, as many of the majestic buildings that once stood proudly within the walls of the Forbidden Purple City were destroyed in the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War. The Japanese Non-Government Associations Fund and UNESCO have been working together to rebuild some of these buildings for tourism purposes.

However, even without these buildings, such as the Emperor’s exclusive citadel and palace, the Forbidden City is still inspiring and magnificent. When approaching the citadel of the city, visitors will see eleven large cannons. The four cannons on the one side represent the compass headings of east, west, north and south, and the five on the opposite site, represent the elements of water, earth, metal, fire and wood. It is known that it was completely forbidden for outsiders to enter the part of the citadel that housed the emperors, their families and the concubines, and anyone found trespassing on this area was put to death.

Through the gates, visitors will find lavish ponds and gardens that once added to the grandeur of the Forbidden City. The Thai Hoa Palace is the greatest attraction of the city. It is said, that it took twenty-seven years to complete the palace, and by the time the last Emperor stepped down, the Forbidden City was filled with hundreds of rooms and pavilions. The city is a vision that was started by Emperor Gia, and almost completely destroyed by the war. Stopping by the tombs of the emperors is a solemn experience. It is quite disappointing to know that the valuable items that were buried with the emperors are no longer there, as the French soldiers raided the tombs during the French invasion, and the items are displayed in museums in France today.

Visitors to the Forbidden City will find it to be a fascinating attraction. The surrounding areas are also filled with noteworthy sights such as the Flag Tower, Thien Mu Pagoda, the Imperial Museum and many more reminders of a glorious history. Vietnam, with majestic cities such as Hue, is a wonderful destination filled with the adventures of discovery and exploration.

 



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