Being the capital city under the reign of 13 Emperors of Nguyen Dynasty, the last royal dynasty from 1802 to 1945, Hue city itself brings the unique architecture values with diverse system of the most meticulous and massive constructions including royal architectures, religious architectures, modern and traditional architectures. Each construction is a completed unique artwork and special in its own way that you can explore in Hue city tour.
Hue architecture cannot lack the most important part creating appearance of the Ancient Capital of Hue – the royal architecture. Just one time visiting Hue, you will see a royal architectural system consists of the majestic walls, royal palaces, royal tombs and temples.
With the role of country’s political centre, Nguyen Emperors built an enormous wall system to symbolize the supreme power of Nguyen dynasty with three layers including the Citadel, Imperial City and the Purple Forbidden City which are located in the north bank of Perfume river. The outside area is a large square fortified rampart called “Kinh Thanh” (Citadel) with each of the four walls 2 kilometres long and ringed by a wide moat. Inside the citadel is “Hoang Thanh” (Imperial City) which has nearly square form with 2.5 kilometers in length. Inside the Imperial City is the Forbidden City, the inner sanctum where the royal family lived and was restricted to access. This is a huge network of palaces, offices, temples, gates, courtyards and gardens that served as emperor’s personal home and the administrative core of the Empire. Especially, Imperial City was built in a wonderful setting of the natural landscapes with the Perfume River and the Ngu Binh mount like a snake and lion to protect the city.
Contributing to the Vietnam architecture treasure is the system of Nguyen Kings’ tombs on the other side of Perfume River and the west of the citadel. Among 13 Nguyen Emperors, seven Emperors managed to design their own resting places. Each Emperor Tomb has its own style reflecting the personality and characteristics of the ruler. Basically, all were built according to strict rules of geomancy and the purest Vietnamese architectural tradition in combination with modern architectures from foreign architectures. You will realize that most of the tombs were built in traditional style layout and achieved a pleasing balance with its main structures and surrounding nature such as Tu Duc and Minh Mang tomb. While Tu Duc tomb architecture showcases a traditional elegance and reflects the romantic nature which creates art inspiration, Khai Dinh tomb is a mix of Western and Eastern architecture creating the precious art works and buildings.
Most of Hue people embrace Buddhism and always attach importance to showing their respect for spiritual life. That’s the reason why you will see hundreds of pagodas and temples everywhere from the city to small villages. Hue religious architecture do not follow any specific building style. The structures are usually simple but elegant and surrounded by poetic scenery with green trees, lakes and of calligraphic works. Their fantastic designs and decorations reflect the soul of Hue’s people. The most popular one that you should miss in Hue is Thien Mu pagoda, an exquisite union of architecture and natural setting.
Beside Hue royal architecture and religious architecture, Hue garden houses with traditional architectures is an unique and less well-known feature symbolizing a peaceful heritage city. They are wooden houses which are meticulously sculpted with elaborately carvings and called “Nha Ruong” (Ruong house). A garden house usually consists of a main entrance, sub entrances, a screen at front yard, a freshwater lake and surrounded by lush, attractive formal gardens. Hue garden houses used to be the living places of wealthy local families who related to royal imperial court in Nguyen Dynasty. Their architecture is a perfect combination between traditional and the royal architecture and stay in harmony with nature. This became the most soothing stop in Hue city tour where you can immerse yourself in nature with the calm and fresh atmosphere.