Backpacking Vietnam Part 4: From Tanks to Tour Buses in Hue
An otherwise unassuming city in central Vietnam, Hue was the sight of one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam war (or called the American war by the Vietnamese) but on this bright and muggy day we decided to explore The Imperial Citadel, The Forbidden Purple city where the fighting climaxed and thousands of people lost their lives. Before it was a battle-ground, it was home to the Nuygen Dynasty, the last ruling family of Vietnam. We wandered the grounds for hours and got lost in it's Imperial history of emperors, concubines and eunuchs. It was so peaceful and it wasn't until we saw bullet holes in the brick that we remembered it's bloody past. Also, there is a room in the front of the complex that sold ice-cream and traditional music CD's so naturally we gravitated towards the ice-cream and out around the corner walks a little boy (maybe 3?) dressed in little emperor garb. We of course followed our little ruler and bowed down to him and then his mother took him to the next room that was full-on throne room. It was an amazing photo op and without even looking at me Noah said, "NO!" for hours, I mean hours I tried to talk Noah into getting dressed up and sitting on that throne. Sorry guys, I really tried.
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An otherwise unassuming city in central Vietnam, hue was the sight of one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam war
Hue was taken by the north Vietnamese army and the viet cong during the first phase of the tet offensive in 1968, and a vicious battle to retake the city immediately followed.
The battle lasted for 28 days as american and south Vietnamese forces fought together to reclaim the city one block at a time.
the fighting climaxed at the old imperial citadel, when on feb 29th, the last of the north Vietnamese forces were removed from the imperial palace.
Both sides incurred heavy losses during the battle and by the time it was over, most of the city had been destroyed, and more than 5000 civilians were left dead.
Today, decades removed from the horrors of the past, two Americans walk willingly through hue across the perfume river towards the same citadel, with a desire to explore Vietnamese history and culture;
Imperial Intro Sequence:
The imperial city was home to the Nuygen Dynasty, the last ruling family of Vietnam.
After ascending the throne in 1802, emperor Gia Long consulted with his geomancers and Hue was chosen as the building site of the palace.
Construction began in 1804, and over the years, many more walls and structures were added, although only a few survive to this day due to natural disasters and war.
In 1993, the city was made a UNESCO world heritage site, and the buildings that still remain continue to be restored and preserved.
Res Scene (Taken from the plaque) This creepy place originally functioned as the royal treasury where court valuables were produced and stored.
Built in 1837, the main building was replaced in the early 20th century with the present-day European style building, and it served as the imperial city guard headquarters during the 1930s.
In 1957, the building became hue college of fine arts, and then hue college of the arts in 1996, but given its current state, I'm guessing things didn't go too well.
Garden Bridge sequence: The citadel grounds are absolutely huge, and it wasn't long before we found ourselves exploring abandoned buildings in some of the more obscure parts of the complex.