The Dai Noi or the Imperial City in Hue, is one of the must-see places in Vietnam. Located in Hue, the former capital of the country, it is where the Emperors during the Nguyen dynasty passed laws, exercised their controlling power and ruled the country.
Today, hundreds of years after the last Emperor of Vietnam surrendered his position and after the bombings during the Vietnam-American War, the Imperial City is no more than a cultural attraction and a reminder of the past that forms the people’s and the country’s proud heritage.
The Citadel was built in 19th Century by the Emperor Gia Long. The thick walls are made of earth stone and a water-filled ditch surrounds the wall for added protection. It consists of three courts with the same thick walls and water-filled trenches around. Within these fortresses can be found a number of gardens and open spaces with foliage.
The Ngo Mon is the gate that leads to the Imperial Palace. It was constructed in 1833 during the reign of Emperor Minh Mang. This gate served as the “viewing deck” of the Emperor when he was observing his troops as well as during official ceremonies.
This gate is divided into two levels. It has five entrances, one of which was reserved only for the king. At the second level, the Five Phoenix Pavilion can be found, and it is where the king reviewed performances of his troops.
The Palace of Supreme Harmony or the Thai Hoa Palace was built in 1805, around the same time that the Imperial City was built. It is where the emperors held official celebrations, ceremonies, rituals and special occasions. In fact, this is where the coronation of the Emperor Gia Long was held.
It occupies a total space of 1,300 square meters and is made up of two separate halls called the ante-chamber and the main hall, which contains the throne of the king.
TRUONG SANH RESIDENCE
The Truong Sanh Residence or the Residence of Longevity is situated on the North-West part of the Imperial Citadel. It was built in 1822 during the reign of King Minh Mang and was designed to be a complex building that would provide entertainment to the royalty. It was originally called the Truong Ninh Residence or Everlasting Security Residence.
In 1843, it was revamped by King Thieu Tri to include three buildings: the Mansion of Five Generations (or Ngu Dai Dong Duong) standing in the front; the Tho Khuong Palace (or Palace of Longevity and Good Health) located in the center; and the Van Phuoc Pavilion (or the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Blessings) erected in the back.
Better known as “the Citadel within the Citadel within the Citadel”, the Forbidden Purple City is where the concubines of the emperor lived. Males were not allowed to enter the city and the only males allowed through its narrow gate were eunuchs who were designated to protect the city.
HUE JUNGLE CREVICE
The Hue Jungle Crevice was where thousands of locals died during the American-Vietnam War. This is just one of the places in the Dai Noi that have been touched by the war and then destroyed by it.