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Published: October 26th 2018
The Imperial City
The main reason we went to Hué was to visit the former royal palace or, as it is officially called, the Imperial City.
Hué was hot - in more ways than one
When we travelled south through Vietnam we made a stop in the city Hué. The main reason we went there, and the main reason most foreigners go there, was to visit the former royal palace or, as it is officially called, the Imperial City.
This former royal palace is so large that it is not an exaggeration to call it "The Imperial City". It is in fact an incredibly large place. The main compound alone is so immense that it is hard to take it all in when you walk through it. But the Imperial City might be an even bigger area than what you see at first glance. Back when Vietnam was a monarchy and they had a royal family roaming around in Hué we think much of the rest of the old town could be defined as being part of the imperial city. When you look at a map you can see that there is a 2.5X3 km large area, more than 10 times the size of the main palace area, which looks like it is an extension of the Imperial City. But it
It is a beautiful place
It was a pleasure to walk around the Imperial City and take in the beauty without having to fight with thousands of other visitors
might also be as simple as the rest of the city being laid out in a pattern dictated by the position of the palace.
The day we visited Hué was a very hot one. So hot that we had to stop on the way from the central station to the Imperial City and cool off in a café where they had AC. Fortunately within the palace grounds there was enough shade that we survived the ordeal of walking around there. Later in the day there was also a slight rain that cooled off the air a bit so in the afternoon it was tolerable.
We have previously visited the Forbidden City in Beijing, which also used to be a royal palace. There are similarities between the palace in Beijing and the palace in Hué. Both cover vast areas and both consist of a large number of buildings that together form the palace. But having said that the differences between the two are just as big. Compared to the Forbidden City the Imperial City is less large (we refuse to use the word "smaller" here as we are comparing gigantic with super gigantic), more relaxed
Decoration on one of the buildings
and more intimate. Also it is far less crowded. It was a pleasure to walk around the Imperial City and take in the beauty without having to fight with thousands of other visitors.
The Imperial City is an impressive site today and easily take several hours to visit. However, in the past it was much more impressive. Since the 1940-ies it did for a while suffer from neglect, a few times been damaged by nature disasters and it was also bombed during the Vietnam War. So today many of the original buildings are missing. That is a bit sad. But having said that, enough is still standing today to make us feel that this truly was one of the highlights of our vacation in Vietnam. It was a well spent day and we are happy we went there.
From here on we are going to let our photos from Hué do the talking for us because the Imperial City is better described in pictures that in words.
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