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The Legacy of the Nguyen Dynasty Lives on in Hue, Vietnam

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Hue is a town in Thua Thien-Hue Province in Central Vietnam.  It served as the imperial capital of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945.  The opulently named Perfumed River (known locally as Song Huong or Huong Giang) flows through the city.  In the autumn, flowers from orchards upriver from Hue fall into the water, giving the river a perfume-like aroma.

The Perfume River serves as the main landmark and divider of the town.  The north side of the river contains many of the historical sites and monuments such as the old city and the Citadel.  The south side is where much of the hotels and restaurants are located.  Walkways and parks dot much of the riverside.

The city’s roots can be traced back to the Nguyen Dynasty.  Because of this imperial background, Hue is known for its historic monuments, earning the town a UNESCO World Heritage site status.  One such attraction is the Imperial Citadel.  It is the former imperial seat of government and is the city’s main attraction.  Construction began in 1804 and it took more than 30 years to build.  Built in the same mold as the Forbidden Palace in Beijing, The Imperial City was Hue’s administrative center and served as the center of the country’s administration until the capital was moved.

The town is also known for its tombs and mausoleums of the Nguyen Dynasty’s past emperors.   All of them were elaborately and magnificently designed, with some taking decades to plan and build while the ruling emperor was still alive.  Once a spot for a tomb was decided, artificial lakes and elaborate gardens were added.  A trip along the Perfume River and nearby hills will reveal many of these once hidden mausoleums.  Although different in design, all of the tombs contain three unifying elements which include a temple, a high stone tower with details of the emperor’s reign and a compound that enclosed the tomb.  Many of these mausoleums resemble palaces because they also served as the temporary residences of the emperor during their reign.

Exploring Hue is one of Vietnam’s greatest pleasures and Exotissimo’s A Day Hue – Hue day trip reveals the fascinating history and spectacular beauty of this town.  Start by taking a leisurely boat ride on the romantically named Perfume River.  Then, experience the grandeur of the Imperial City and explore some of the most ornate mausoleums of the Nguyen Dynasty such as the tombs of Minh Mang, Tu Duc and Khai Dinh.  Our Highlights of Vietnam tour offers a varied trip to all of Vietnam’s main attractions as well as experiences with the country’s culture and people.  Visit Exotissimo’s suggested Vietnam tours page for other memorable trips into this diverse and astonishing country.

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