Area: 5,063.3 sq. km
Population: 1,143.5 thousand habitants (2006)
Capital: Hue City
Districts: Phong Dien, Quang Dien, Huong Tra, Phu Vang, Huong Thuy, Phu Loc, Nam Dong, A Luoi.
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Ta Oi, Co Tu, Bru Van Kieu, Hoa.





Geography (Please click here for location)
Thua Thien-Hue Province is located in Central Vietnam. It is next to Quang Tri Province to the north, Danang to the south, and Quang Nam Province to the south-west. This province leans up against the Truong Son mountain range and is washed by the East Sea, along its 120km seashore.


The weather is submitted to tropical monsoon climate divided into four distinct seasons: fresh spring, very hot summer, mild autumn and windy, cold winter. The dry 
season lasts from March to August. It is hot with temperate rarely reaches to 39.5ºC. The rainy season lasts from September to February. It is quite cold with average temperature is 19.7ºC, but sometime down to 8.8ºC. In this time, it rains a lost, sometime lasts all day. If tourist would to avoid rainy, they come to Danang City, 108km from south of Hue. In the mountain area, the weather is cool with the annual temperature is between 9ºC and 29ºC. The most convenient time to visit the area is from November to April.

Thua Thien-Hue offers very diversified and beautiful landscapes. Nature and human beings create a harmoniously beauty with Bach Ma (White Horse) National Park and other attractive beaches such as Thuan An, Lang Co and Canh Duong.
The province provides a well-balanced blend of royal heritage and folk culture. As a matter of fact, tourists discover dozens of handicraft villages, with annual festivals that are painstakingly organized.
Hue is also an important center of Buddhism. In Hue and its surrounding still exist tens of pagodas constructed more 300 years ago, and hundred of temples and pagodas built in the early 20th century.
Besides, tourist is able to enjoy many traditional famous dishes and find out about sophisticated handicraft here.
Hue Citadel has been recognized as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO since December 1993, Hue Royal Musical (Nha nhac) has been declared as a World Intangible Cultural Heritage since November 2003

Transportation by train, road, air and water routes is very convenient.
Road: Thua Thien-Hue Province is 654km from Hanoi, 1,051km from Ho Chi Minh City, 85km from Danang. The province has the National Highway 14 that links Hue with Central Highlands. It is also on the National Highway 1A that connects Hanoi and Ca Mau.
Train: The Thong Nhat Express trains from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh stop at Hue Railway station. The local trains come to some other provinces.
Air: Phu Bai Airport serves flights: Hue - Ho Chi Minh City and Hue - Hanoi.






Hue Citadel – A World Heritage Site

Location: Hue Citadel is situated on the Northern bank of the Perfume River.
Characteristic: With an area of 500ha and a system of three circles of ramparts, namely from outside to inside: Kinh Thanh Hue (Hue Capital Citadel), Hoang Thanh (Royal Citadel) and Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Citadel).






Hue has chosen to be the capital city of the Southern Kingdom by all Lords Nguyen and officially became the capital under Tay Son Dynasty. For approximately 400 years, Hue has become a great landscape and architectural site. Hue royal complex has been officially recognized by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Ngu Binh Mountain in the south is used as a front screening elevation. Two sand dunes of The Con Hen and Con Da Vien on the Perfume River are chosen as geomancy condition "dragon on the left, tiger on the right" to protect the capital city.

Kinh Thanh Hue (Hue Capital Citadel)

This construction stared in 1805 under the reign of Emperor Gia Long and completed in 1832 under the reign of Emperor Ming Mang. Under Nguyen Dynasty, the Kings had ordered to build ramparts, palaces and constructional works for royal. Over 200 years to now, it is still original with nearly 140 small and large constructions.
The Citadel, square in shape, is almost 10km in circumference, 6m high, 21m thick and 10 entrances. On the top of the walls that surround it, 24 bastions are established for defensive purposes. Besides, the Citadel has an ancillary gate connecting the Tran Binh Bastion called the Thai Binh Mon (Peace Gate).

Hoang Thanh (Royal Citadel or Imperial City)
The Imperial City is located in the centre of the Citadel where established highest offices of Vietnam's feudalism and sanctums honouring the cult of decreased Emperors. The Citadel, also has a nearly square form, with more than 600m long for each side, built of brick 4m high, 1m thick, around which is ditched a system of protection trench. Access to the Imperial City can be made by four entrance gates. Royal Citadel consists of more 100 beautiful constructional works divided many sectors: 
- Sector for the Ngo Mon Gate and the Thai Hoa Palace: This is the place for setting up various grand ceremonies.
- Sector for worship shrines of the Kings Nguyen: Trieu Mieu, Thai Mieu, Hung Mieu, The Mieu and Phung Tien Temples.
- Sector for internal affairs office: Storehouse for precious objects, workshop for manufacturing various useful articles. 
- Sectors for the Kham Van Palace and the Co Ha Garden: place where the princes are studying or enjoying.

Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Citadel)
Located inside the Imperial City, behind the Throne Palace, the Forbidden Purple Citadel is reserved for Emperor and his family. Constructed early under reign of Emperor Gia Long in 1804 with brick walls of 3.72m high, 0.72m thick, about 1,230m in circumference. Its front and back sides are 324m each while either left and right side is more than 290m including 50 architectural constructions of different sizes and 7 gates for facilities of entrance and exit. Dai Cung Mon (the Great Palace Gate) is in the front side for the Kings. Can Chanh Palace (the place for daily working of Emperors). Can Thanh (Emperor's Private Palace), Khon Thai Residence (Queen's Private Apartment) reserved for the Queen. Duyet Thi Duong house (Royal Theatre), Thuong Thien (the kitchen for the Kings' food), Thai Binh Lau (King's reading room)...
In addition, there are also famous royal tombs and temples of Kings Nguyen outside Hue Citadel. Seven tombs with different aspect are not only a wonderful arch but also combining beautiful, imposing nature and poetic of Hue. Ancient Hue including Perfume River and Ngu Mountain, palaces and citadels, tombs and temples with hundred of historic years are being embellished and recovered by material contribution of Vietnamese and International community in order to keep Hue City as World cultural heritage.





The Flag Tower

Location: The Flag Tower, also called the King’s Knight, is the focal point of Hue City.
Characteristic: It is commonly known as a flagpole, but viewed from the Imperial City; it is really a huge structure of three flat-top pyramids, one lying on top of another.





It was built during Emperor Gia Long's reign, in 1807, and later improved by his son, Emperor Minh Mang. According to the Thuc Luc (Nguyen Dynasty's Chronicle), the flag-tower is 17.40m high and consists of three terraces. The first is 5.60m high, the second, 5.8m, and the third, 6m. The higher the terrace is, the smaller its surface is. On the third terrace, are 8 little buildings housing one canon each and two sentry-boxes at opposite ends.
The 29.52m flag-staff was originally made of wood. It was replaced by a new one in 1846 by Emperor Thieu Tri and again in 1914, with French assistance, with a cast-iron one after having been destroyed by a typhoon. Forty-three years later, after the return of the French colonialists (1947), the staff was again destroyed. So it was in 1948 that a 21m concrete staff was erected.
In feudal times, a yellow flag flapped everyday on top of the staff. It was replaced with a larger one on festive occasions (The Nam Giao Offering Ceremony, for example). Made of wool or velvet, this 4m by 3.6m flag was brocaded with a dragon design in its center and fringed with serrated lace.





The Nine Holy Cannons

Location: These nine holy cannons are housed in two buildings beside the The Nhan and Quang Duc Miradors in the Citadel of Hue.
Characteristic: Each cannon is 5.10m long and weights more than 10 tons. Their barrels are elaborately inscribed with the titles, position order, weight, instructions, and writings on fights against the Tay Son Dynasty.





On January 1st 1803, Emperor Gia Long ordered all bronze wares of the Tay Son Dynasty to melt into nine cannons. The work was completed at the end of January 1804. The cannons were named after the four seasons and the five elements: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. They are the "Holy Invincible Generals".
Originally, they were positioned in front of the Ngo Mon Gate, at the foot of the Royal Citadel wall, but later on, they were moved by order of Emperor Khai Dinh to the present-day location. The cannons have never been used for military purposes and just play a symbolic role as guardian spirits for the Citadel.




Principal Gate (Ngo Mon)

Location: Principal Gate is located in front of the Throne Palace and facing the Flag Tower.
Characteristic: Ngo Mon is the main entrance to the Imperial City. Ngo Mon is a huge construction, U-shaped and consisting of two parts: below is a foundation made of brick, Thanh and Quang stone, above is a pavilion made of wood and roofed with tiles.


The longest and widest sides of this 5.2m high foundation are 50m and 27m respectively. Ascent to the top can be made by two open stone staircases on both sides. There are five entrances, the main one being Ngo Mon, paved with Thanh stone, and with red-lacquered doors reserved for the Emperor. The two side-entrances, the Left and Right Gates, were for civil and military mandarins and, inside the branches of the U, are two more gates used by soldiers, elephants, and horses on the royal procession. The upper part is the Ngu Phung Pavilion (Pavilion of Five Phoenixes) in the middle, flanked by two wing belvederes of two stories.
Viewed from above, the pavilion resembles a group of five phoenixes with beaks joining and wings widespread. They form two rows, two roofs each surrounded with a roofed gallery. The middle section of the roof is covered with yellow enameled tiles and others with dark green ones. Along the roof ridges are designs of head-turning dragons, banian leaves and bats with golden coins. Panels along the eaves are decorated with ceramic mosaics of prunes, orchid, chrysanthemum and bamboo. They are bright and harmonious, and very resistant against the rains, typhoons and the passage of time.
The upper story is supplied with wooden partitions and was exclusively reserved for the Queen Mother and the Emperor's wives. They could look through windows shaped like circles, gongs or fans, but blinds prevented them from being seen from the outside.
The lower story was left open except for the middle compartment which is paneled and supplied with glass-doors. There sat the Emperor on festive occasions. Behind his seat were a big bell and a large drum, which enhanced the importance of the ceremonies. Besides, the drum was often used to herald closing-time of the Imperial City. At this signal, sentries would fire the cannons of the Flag Tower and close, or open, the gates of the citadel. Two Chinese characters meaning "Ngo Mon" on the front of this construction had originally been gilded with genuine gold. All structural components such as partitions, columns rafters’ doors and banisters are lacquered red and yellow.
Ngo Mon was also the site where the Emperor received homage from his subjects and ceremonies took place such as: Ceremony of Proclamation of Doctor Lists (successful candidates in the national examination), Calendar Offering Day… On the side of the road passing the Ngo Mon stand two stone steles inscribed with "Tilt Your Hats and Dismount" reminding passers-by to tilt their hats and get off horses when passing this sanctum.
Ngo Mon was damaged during the wars and underwent several restorations.



Throne Palace (Dien Thai Hoa)
and Great Rites Court

Location: Throne Palace (Dien Thai Hoa) faces the Ngo Mon Gate and lies right on the central axis of the Hue Citadel.
Characteristics: The Throne Palace, or Palace of the Supreme Harmony, was the building for great court's meetings. It was constructed in 1805 by Emperor Gia Long and used later in 1806 for his coronation.


In 1833, it was moved onto a foundation of 2.33m high by Emperor Minh Mang. It is 44m long, 30.50m large, 11.80m high and contains a 5-compartment, two-bay main building connected with a 7-compartment, two-bay front building. The columns are lacquered red and decorated with golden dragon designs. On the roof ridge rest two dragon designs paying homage to the moon. Eaves and roof corners are ornamented with head-turning dragon designs. These and the moldings along the eaves are inlaid with multicolored ceramic chips. The roof is covered with yellow enameled tiles.
Over the middle compartment hangs a carved board with big Chinese characters "Thai Hoa Dien" (Palace of Supreme Harmony). Inside is the throne, covered by a golden canopy with brocaded circular dragon designs. Above each compartment hangs a colorful glass-sided hexagonal or octagonal lantern. In 1839, in an attempt to adorn this historic monument, Emperor Minh Mang ordered the framework to be lacquered red and gold. It was later supplied with European-styled paving by Emperor Thanh Thai, in 1899, and colored glass door on front and back sides by Emperor Khai Dinh, in 1923. (It was originally left open and shaded with blinds only).
The interior decorations include some jugs and other antiques. On the court stands a line of carved pedestals, each with a vase for rare plants. Constructors of the Throne Palace have succeeded masterly in creating two contradictory features: cool in summer and warm in winter. From the throne in the center, one can also distinctively hear sounds made anywhere in the palace. Of this phenomenon, no researcher in acoustics or architecture could ever give an exact explanation.
The great court in front of the palace, known as the Great Rites Court (or Esplanade of Great Salutation), is paved with Thanh stones and consists of two terraces: the upper was reserved for high-ranking civil and military mandarins. On both sides of the court are two rows of small steles called Pham Son showing the positions mandarins should take according to their ranks.
The lower terrace, beside the Trung Dao (Central Path) Bridge, is for elders and village authorities in ceremonial occasions. At both corners of the court stand two bronze Kylins. Kylin is traditionally a harbinger of peace and a reminder of ritual solemnity.
Between Ngo Mon Gate and the court is the Thai Dich Lake (Grand Liquid Lake), dug in 1833 and spanned by the Trung Dao (Central Path) Bridge. The bridge, secured by iron banisters, connects the two monuments. At both ends we find a gateway elaborately carved with five-clawed dragon designs in high relief (dragons among clouds on bronze columns). Though symmetrically built, the two columns with two dragons, one slithering down and one soaring up really create an attractive liveliness.
The Throne Palace is the site where solemn ceremonies took place such as: the Coronation Day, the Crown Prince Coronation Day, the Ambassador Receiving Ceremony, Emperor's Birthday Anniversaries, etc. Great meetings were held here twice a month while regular ones took place in the Can Chanh Palace (Palace of Audiences) behind the Great Golden Gate. The Palace was seriously damaged in 1968 during the American bombings. Typhoons, rains and floods have aggravated the calamity and thus deprived the monument of original appearance. individuals.



Royal Theater (Duyet Thi Duong)

Location: Royal Theater is located in the east of the Quang Minh Palace (Palace of Brightness) in the Forbidden Citadel.

Characteristics: The Royal Theater was the oldest of Vietnamese traditional stage that remained. It was closed after the end of the monarchy (Jan 8th, 1945).


During the U.S temporary occupation it was used by the South Government for the Hue Music College (present-day Hue Art University). The Royal Theater was built by Emperor Minh Mang in 1826. It was large, rectangular-shaped with curved eaves, similar to those of Hue pagodas and communal houses, supported by two rows of iron-wood, red lacquered columns decorated with intertwined dragon and cloud designs. On each column hung a painting of Hue scenery in a golden frame, carved with dragon designs. The sky-blue ceiling above was painted with figures of sun, moon and stars, symbolizing the universe. The building was connected with the royal living quarters by snaky roofed galleries.
A square-shaped stage occupied the central part of the floor. No decoration was used to distinguish the real world from the theatrical one. Behind the stage were two doors. Actors and actresses made their entrances from the right-side and exited on the left. Behind the wall was a large room for storing scripts, theatrical headgear, footwear and props. The highest position of this room was occupied by an altar dedicated to two founders of the court opera theater. The room opened onto the court east of the Forbidden Citadel (this entrance was used by actors and actresses).
Across the stage was a high tower of two levels. The top level, next to the western wall, was reserved to the queen, concubines and maidservants. On the ground level was a carved chair for the Emperor. These two levels were kept separated by a bamboo blind which offered the spectators a good view of the outside, preventing them from being seen. Only the fluttering sounds made by fans, such as birds’ wings, or giggles could sometimes be heard.
On both sides of the Emperor's carved chair were other chairs for State guests. There sat the Governor General and the Superior Resident sometimes during the French occupation.


Royal Library (Thai Binh Lau)

Location: Royal Library is located in the Forbidden Citadel.
Characteristic: The Royal Library was the only monument undamaged in the Forbidden Citadel after the reoccupation of Hue by French troops in early 1947. It is the pavilion where the Emperors Nguyen came for reading and resting.


In 1821, by order of Emperor Minh Mang, a building was erected west of the Thieu Phuong Garden (Garden of Lingering Aroma), called the Tri Nhan Mansion (Mansion of Intellect and Mercy). It was later improved and renamed Thanh Ha Thu Lau (Writing Pavilion) by Emperor Thieu Tri, and then, by Dong Khanh as the Royal Library.
This pavilion, elaborately decorated with ceramic mosaics, faces a square-shaped pond with a lovely rock-garden. Left of the pavilion stands the Tu Phuong Vo Ngu Pavilion (Pavilion of No Worry) and right of it is the Hoa Nhat Thu Truong Gallery (Gallery of the Nourishing Sun). On the left of the Bat Phong Pavilion (Pavilion open to Eight Directions) is a small structure called the Luc Tri Than Thong Belvedere and on the right is the Than Tu Room (Morale Improving Room). North of it is the Luc Giac (Hexagonal) Pavilion with Trach Trung Tasist Temple (Temple of Just Conduct) on the left. In front of this temple is the Duc Vien House (House of Full Virtue). Bridges and galleries are together connected, lakes and ponds smoothly flow into one another in a very poetic scenery.



Dynastic Temple (The Mieu)

Location: Dynastic Temple (The Mieu) is situated southwest of the Hue Citadel and facing south.
Characteristics: It's dedicated to ten Emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty, built by Emperor Minh Mang in 1821, it presents a 9 - compartment main building and a 11 - compartment front building, together connected in the "double" architecture with two bays on east and west sides.  


The Mieu is roofed with yellow enameled tiles and on the ridge rests a wine gourd decorated with Phap Lam enamel. It once had seven red and yellow lacquered altars (one in the middle, three on either side). -The middle altar was dedicated to Emperor Gia Long and his two Queens (Thua Thien and Thuan Thien).
 -The first altar (left) was dedicated to Emperor Minh Mang and Queen.
 -The first altar (right) was dedicated to Emperor Thieu Tri and Queen.
 -The second altar (left) was dedicated to Emperor Tu Duc and Queen.
 -The second altar (right) was dedicated to Emperor Kien Phuc.
 -The third altar (left) was dedicated to Emperor Dong Khanh and Queen.
 -The third altar (right) was dedicated to Emperor Khai Dinh.
East of The Mieu is the Canh Y Palace. West of it is a square-shaped chapel for the worship of the God of Earth. A wall runs all around The Mieu with the Khai Dich Gate
(Gate of Bringing Up) on the east, the Sung Thanh Gate (Gate of Peace Honoring) on the west, the Hien Huu Gate (Gate of Recognizable Assistance) (left) and Doc Huu Gate (Gate of Genuine Assistance) (right) at the back. In the yard of The Mieu stand the Nine Dynasty Urns. Behind them is a wall with the Hien Lam Pavilion (Pavilion of Glorious Coming) in the middle. Left of this pavilion is the Tuan Liet Gate (Gate of Grandness) topped by a belfry and right of it is the Sung Cong Gate (Gate of Honorable Achievements) with a drum-tower atop (The temple is architecturally similar to Thai Temple). Outside of the Hien Lam Pavilion are the Left and Right Houses, dedicated to meritorious mandarins who had devoted themselves to Nguyen Anh (later known as Emperor Gia Long) and his successors. The Left House honors the four royal family members Ton That Man, Ton That Dien, Ton That Huy and Ton That Hoi. The Right House is dedicated to Vo Van Tanh, Ngo Tung Chau, Chau Van Tien, Vo Di Nguy, Nguyen Van Truong, Pham Van Nhon, Nguyen Huynh Duc, Tong Phuc Dam, Nguyen Van Man, Do Van Huu, Nguyen Van Nhon, Mai Duc Nghi and Truong Dang Que, accepted by Emperor Minh Mang in 1827.
On January 25th, 1959, at the request of the royal family and the people, a ceremony was held to admit to The Mieu mortuary tablets of Ham Nghi, Thanh Thai and Duy Tan, three anti - French Emperors. So today there are three additional reddish-lacquered altars for them in The Mieu.
Many personal paraphernalia of great value which belonged to the Nguyen Emperors are kept in The Mieu. On each altar were once dozens of gold ingots. Fortunately, The Mieu has suffered the least damage through the numerous wars and today visitors can see it as it was originally built.


Hien Lam Pavilion

Location: Hien Lam Pavilion (Pavilion of the Glorious Coming) is situated in the center of the Dynastic Temple’s courtyard, southwest of the Hue Citadel.
Characteristics:  Built in 1824 by Emperor Minh Mang, at the same time as the Dynastic Temple, Hien Lam Pavilion consists of three stories.


The pavilion stands on a 21m by 13m square-shaped foundation. The area amounted to 300m² including the roof overhang. In front, on the stairs (9 steps each) joining the court, each flight is divided by two slithering dragon designs into three passages, the middle one being exclusively reserved for the Emperor. The ground floor is paved with Bat Trang bricks. It has three compartments and two bays surrounded with plastered brick walls. These are ventilated by windows similar in shape and decorated with enameled open-work bricks. The three compartments are left open and garnished with ornamental wooden banisters. Systems of rafters and panels are exquisitely engraved with floral designs.
Hien Lam Pavilion can be considered as a memorial to those who had devoted their lives to the establishment of the Nguyen Dynasty. The Emperors Nguyen  are honored in the Dynastic Temple while meritorious mandarins are honored in the Left and Right Houses on either side of the Hien Lam Pavilion. Because of the holiness of the Pavilion, the Emperors Nguyen had decreed that no other construction built in the Citadel should be higher.


The Nine Dynastic Urns

Location: Nine Dynastic Urns are located in the shade of the Hien Lam Pavilion, in front of the The Mieu Temple.
Characteristics: The nine Dynastic Urns are the greatest bronze ones in Vietnam They were cast by Emperor Minh Mang in 1836 to symbolize the sovereignty of the dynasty.


Each of them is named after the posthumous title of the emperors worshipped in the The Mieu Temple. For example, Cao Urn is named after Emperor The To Cao (Gia Long), Nhan Urn after Emperor Thanh To Nhan (Minh Mang), Chuong, Anh, Nghi, Tuyen and Thuan Urns after Emperors Thieu Tri, Tu Duc, Kien Phuoc, Dong Khanh and Khai Dinh respectively. (Until 1958 only seven altars were established in The Mieu Temple corresponding to seven urns. Du and Huyen Urns did not exist yet).
 After their casting, the Nine Dynastic Urns were placed in accordance with the disposition of the altars in the Temple. Cao Urn stands in the center, alone in the first row. The others line behind and are placed symmetrically on both sides. On each urn are 17 traditional Vietnamese patterns like stars, rivers, mountains, seas and oceans, vehicles, valuable forestry and sea products, etc. The 153 patterns on the 9 urns constitute a real encyclopedia on the country. This precious cultural heritage is incredibly well-preserved in spite of the harsh weather and the numerous wars.
At first sight, the nine urns are almost alike, but in fact, they all differ in weight and size:

Name-Height-Height of handle-Legs-Mouth-Weight
Cao Urn-2.50m -0.48m-1.05m-1.38m-2,601kg
Nhan Urn-2.31 -0.42-0.87-1.36-2,512
Chuong Urn-2.27 -0.41-0.95-1.35-2,097
Anh Urn-2.25 -0.42-0.94 -1.37-2,595
Nghi Urn-2.31 -0.41-0.89 -1.37-2,575
Thuan Urn-2.32 -0.42-0.95 -1.36-1,950
Tuyen Urn-2.45 -0.54-0.93 -1.37-2,066
Du Urn-2.34 -0.43-0.96 -1.38-2,018
Huyen Urn-2.31 -0.41-0.95 -1.41-1,935


Ho Quyen (Tiger Arena)

Location: Ho Quyen is located on the south bank of the Perfume River and 4km from the Hue Citadel.
Characteristic: Ho Quyen was built in 1830. It is a unique construction, open air and solidly built as a citadel. The coliseum consists of two concentric circles built with bricks and mortar.


Ho Quyen was the arena where duels between elephants and tigers were arranged for the entertainment of the Emperor, the royal family and mandarins. In the old time, the duels Ho Quyen were held once a year. The last one was organized here in 1904 in the reign of Thanh Thai.
The first staircase with 20 steps was exclusively reserved for the Emperor and royal family leading up to the rectangular tribune with the surface of 96m², the height of 1.5m. Looking down from the tribune, people can see the cavity with the coliseum. The second staircase, with 15 steps was used by the soldiers and the common people leading up to the earthen part. Between the two staircases is a big entrance 1.9m wide and 3.9m high for the elephants to enter the coliseum.
The way running around above this curved door is narrowed into a small bridge across the curved door. Under it is a big two-wing wooden door with stone hinges which still remain undamaged. Opposite to the tribune for the Emperor on the other side of the arena are five cages for tigers and leopards. Above the middle cage is a stone sign inscribed the two Chinese words "Ho Quyen".
Ho Quyen is a unique architectural work rarely found in South East Asia. Though it is not as huge as the arenas of the Emperor Romance but it still bears an outstanding figure and creates a martial and imposing atmosphere.


Pavilion of Edicts (Phu Van Lau)

Location: Pavilion of Edicts is situated right in front of the Flag -Tower and by the National Highway No.1A which crosses Hue City.
Characteristic: It is a delicate pavilion with a south view. In front of the Pavilion is a large court leading to the Nghinh Luong Pavilion (Pavilion for Fresh Air) on the Perfume River bank.


There had once been a tiger - elephant duel on the pavilion grounds in 1829 to entertain Emperor Minh Mang. In his fortieth and fiftieth birthday anniversaries, many entertainments were also held there. These practices were maintained by Emperors Thieu Tri and Tu Duc in their birthday anniversaries. Emperor Thieu Tri listed the Perfume River and the Pavilion of Edicts among 20 most beautiful sights of the capital city of Hue. It was him who ordered in 1843 the construction of a stele house on the right of the pavilion for engraving his poem "Morning Boating on the Perfume River".
It is the building where Emperor's edicts and lists of successful candidates of Thi Hoi (National Examination) and Thi Dinh (Court Examinations) were publicized. Though built early in Emperor Gia Long's reign (1819), it was first decided by Emperor Minh Mang to be the site to publicly display his important edicts.
After having been announced at the Throne Palace or the Ngo Mon, the edict was put in a canopied palanquin and carried by soldiers to the pavilion. On that occasion, the Thua Thien Province mandarins and thousands of local elders crowded to pay homage to the edict. Since 1821, after the Proclamation Ceremony, lists of successful candidates were posted there. In order to enhance the significance, two stone steles were erected on both sides of the pavilion, inscribed with Chinese characters meaning "Tilt Your Hats and Dismount" reminding passers-by to tilt their hats and get off their horses when passing this monument.
The pavilion was destroyed by a typhoon in 1904 and restored later by Emperor Thanh Thai.



Hue Royal Fine - arts Museum

Location: Hue Royal Fine-arts Museum is located on 3 Le Truc Street, Hue City.
Characteristic: The Hue Royal Fine-arts Museum is a gallery of antiques displaying collections of bronze, pottery, chinaware, Phap Lam enamel, court robes, head-gear and personal belongings of former Vietnam Emperors.


It is a 7-compartment, 2-bay building constructed in the "double" architecture, originally called the Long An Palace (Emperor's Security) in the Bao Dinh Residence of Tay Loc precinct. When French troops took Bao Dinh Residence for their headquarters in 1885, Long An Palace was removed and materials were stored. But, in 1909, by order of Emperor Duy Tan, they were moved to the present-day site (3 Le Truc St.)
It served later as the Khai Dinh Museum in Emperor Khai Dinh's time, in 1923. The building (former Long An Palace) housing the museum is a monument of remarkable value. The wooden panels are covered with 35 poems and essays composed by Emperor Thieu Tri.



Nam Giao Esplande

Location: Nam Giao Esplanade is located about 4km south of Hue City.
Characteristics: Nam Giao Esplanade is an open-air monument. It was built based on the dogma of heaven fate of Confucianism and has architecture of both the religious and political significance of Oriental feudalism.


In the Nguyen dynasty, right after being crowned (1802), Emperor Gia Long built the terraces in An Ninh Village in 1803 to offer ceremonies to God. A few years after that, the terraces left that position and had new terraces built in Duong Xuan Village in the south of Hue Citadel (the remains are still preserved).
The Esplanade construction was commenced on 25th March, 1806. At the beginning of 1807, Gia Long terraces had its first God worship ceremonies there. The structure of the terraces also shows the misunderstanding deriving from old thoughts on the Universe of the prior times: circular heavens and square earth.
Nam Giao Esplanade faces south. Its surrounding stone wall has four big open doors looking at four directions. In front of each door, one very big screen (12.5m wide, 3.2m high, 0.8m thick) was erected. During the ceremony, big flags with different colours were on all these doors: black flags on the north door, blue on the east, red on the south and white on the west.
The sacrifice offering Esplanade was designed with three terraces, one on top of another symbolizing oriental theory of three agents: Heaven, Earth and Man. Each terrace had its own shape and colour: circular and blue heaven, square and yellow earth. The topmost is circular, and is called Vien Doanh, symbolizing Heaven. The surrounding parapet was painted blue. On the ceremony day, people built on this layer a conical tent with blue cloth called Thanh Oc. Right below is a square terrace called Phuong Dan, representing the Earth. The surrounding parapet is painted yellow. On the sacrifice offering day, a square house with yellow cloth roof smaller than the yellow tent was erected. The three layers are 4.65m high in total. Shapes colour and directions of the architecture of Nam Giao Esplanade were based on the principles of Yin and Yang and five basic elements (Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth).
From Gia Long's time (1802-1819) the ceremony was organized in the first weeks or the first month in lunar calendar every year. Since 1890, for realizing that such a ceremony was too costly, the reign of Thanh Thai organized it once every three years: in the years of Rat, Cat, Horse and Rooster. It took the Protocol and Administration Ministries many months to prepare for the ceremony. For some days prior to the sacrifice offering day, all villages and commune in Thua Thien-Hue were ordered to complete making triumphal arches, to put altars on both sides of the route where the Emperor would pass by from Ngo Mon Gate to Trai Cung (Fasting Palace).
For each ceremony, the Emperor came to the Trai Cung to stay there for three days prior to ceremony. In Bao Dai's time, the duration was reduced to one day. The Emperor came from the citadel to Trai Cung accompanying by a procession called Ngu Dao including from 1,000 to 5,000 people. The King sat on the sedan carried by royal soldiers in the middle path. When the Truong Tien Bridge had not been built yet - the procession crossed the Perfume River by Buoy Bridge made temporarily by boats.
The main Ceremony began officially at 2am and lasted nearly 3 hours. All the sacrifice offering terraces of the Ly, Tran, Le, Tay Son dynasties do not exist any more. Nam Giao esplanade of the Nguyen dynasty is the unique one left relatively undamaged. To visit it, tourists can have a chance to understand more about many aspects of the cultural and spiritual life of the Vietnamese feudalism.