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Lying in the narrow strip central of Vietnam, Hue remained as the capital city of Vietnam for a period of 143 years. Hue city is famous for a plenty of places to visit from magnificent architectural buildings of the royal family, stunning natural landscapes to sacred spiritual sites. A day trip exploring Hue’s top attractions: The Imperial City, Khai Dinh Tomb and Thien Mu Pagoda included in Hue city tour which appeals to visitors for great insight into this ancient capital city. 

The Imperial City

Being one of eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam, the Imperial City of Hue has long been a must see attraction while visiting Hue city. The Imperial City was actually a walled fortress and palace belonging to the ancient city which was a capital city of the Nguyen Dynasty for 143 years from 1802 to 1945. The architecture was planned to be built in 1804 by Emperor Gia Long who founded the Nguyen Dynasty. Until 1832, the Imperial City was finally completed under the reign of Emperor Minh Mang. The Imperial City is located on the northern bank of the Perfume River, and covers a total area of 520 hectares. The complex has a total of ten main majestic gates leading to the Imperial City, which can be divided into two main parts excluding houses and mansions: The Citadel and The Forbidden City. The former served to protect the important palaces while the latter was used as working and living places of the emperors and the royal family. 

Khai Dinh Tomb

The mausoleum is the final resting place of Emperor Khai Dinh who reigned Nguyen Dynasty from 1916 to 1925. The Emperor Khai Dinh was an unpopular ruler as he raised taxes on peasantry by 30 percent to finance the mausoleum. The construction is a unique architectural fusion of traditional Vietnamese and European styles. Many European elements of the tombs were inspired by the Emperor’s visit to France in 1922. While most of the building’s exterior is covered in darkened, with Gothic architecture characteristics, the interior of the palace looks brighter with the explosions of colourful ceramic mosaic. The construction began in 1920 and took 11 years to complete by Emperor Bao Dai - Khai Dinh’s successor, in 1931. Not long after that, World War II and the Cold War caused the end of the Nguyen Dynasty, which ensured that Khai Dinh Tomb is the last royal tomb in Hue. 

Thien Mu Pagoda

This religious site is an iconic monument located atop a small hill outside the center of Hue City, which offers breathtaking views of the romantic Perfume River. One of the pagoda’s remarkable features is a seven-storey octagonal tower named Phuoc Duyen Tower which was constructed under the reign of Emperor Thieu Tri in 1844. The pagoda also features statues of Buddhist guardians, golden Buddha statues, and the great bell cast in 1710. Thien Mu Pagoda is famous for being the home monastery of the Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc, who had self-immolated in 1963, to protest against the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government. The Austin car, which he used to travel to his self-immolation in Saigon, is also on display in the pagoda. 

Hue is a great destination for getting close to the culture and history of Vietnam, and the list of must-see places is endless. Travel with us to explore not only those highlighted attractions but also other sites and places in the ancient capital with our well-designed Hue city tour.

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