Hue is one of the jewels of Vietnam and many ancient, vietnames style buildings would still remain intact if war would have never happened. It was first the French, later the American, who bombed and destroyed one of the marvels of the country: Hue’s citadel. The complex is located within 3 concentric stone walls of around two meters thick, each of them keeping the security and the privacy of the one inside. The first wall and also the longer one runs along the Perfume River bed and was the entrance to the city itself. The second one, the imperial enclosure housing the emperor’s residence and the main buildings of state, separated citizens to the emperor’s court, and nowadays keeps vehicles outside its limits, which makes the visit much more quieter and nicer. And the third one gave access to the Forbidden City, inhabitated by the Emperor and his concubines.
It is a pity that there are only a few intact buildings left because the beauty of the area is thought to be similar to that of the Forbidden City in Beijin, China. The majestuosity of the it all remains in the ruins anyway and one can imagine how well the Emperor’s family could have lived within the walls. It is a pleasant day out visiting the complex although it can be tiring because of its size. Very remarkable for its beauty and good state of conservation is the Emperor’s Reading Room, which is unfortunately used nowadays to store rubbish and useless stuff and it is not possible to visit inside. Actually, very few of the remaining buildings can be visited inside and one can only imagine its inner splendour by watching old pictures of them.
Appart from the citadell, Hue is crossed by the beautiful Perfume River, which can be navigated with tourist boats, although we didn’t do it. The water is clean and clear –something uncommon in rivers passing through a city- and we were tempted more than once to jump into it and have a swim. Definitely, we liked Hue because of the Citadel and the river, although we found Hoi An much more authentic and beautiful. If we come back to Vietnam again, both cities will be on the list!