Hue Imperial Citadel is situated in the ancient capital city, is responsible for the security of the most important palaces in the imperial palace, the temple to worship the Nguyen Dynasty’s ancestors and Forbidden Purple City where are all the place for the king and royal lineage. The Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City are both known as the name of the Inner City.
The Imperial City started to be built in 1804, however the construction was completely finished at the reign of King Minh Mang in 1833 with more than 100 completed construction work in the complex.
There are 4 gates in 4 different sides of the citadel: the main gate is in the south called Gate of Moon (Ngo Mon), Hien Nhon is the gate in the east, Chuong Duc gate is in the west and the gate in the north is called Hoa Binh. All of the bridges and lakes at outside the citadel are known as the name of Kim Thuy.
The Imperial City of Hue has a circumference of 10 kilometers with the height of 6.6 meters and 21 meters thick with forts being meanderingly arranged, accompanied by cannons, artilleries and ammunitions. Surrounding the city is the complicated canal system served not only as a protection but also as a waterway with nearly seven kilometers.
The citadel and the complex of palace inside is the primary area that is distributed closely by many distinct areas:
– Defending area: consists of a circumference of the citadel at outside, the gates of the citadel, lakes, bridges and observatories.
– Area of great ceremony celebration: consists of Ngo Mon, the main gate of the citadel where takes place the ceremony of parade, pronouncing the name of new doctor, issuing the calendar in the new year; Thai Hoa hall where to celebrate great ceremony of overall palace twice a month (on the 1st and 15th every month according to lunar calendar),or the ceremony of coronation, marigold or national celebration are all celebrated here.
– Area of worshiping temple: arranged ahead, two longitudinal center lines of the citadel according to the order from inside to outside: there are the temple of Nguyen Kim (Trieu To Temple), Nguyen Lords (Thai To Temple), and on the right side are the temple of Nguyen Phuc Luan (Hung To Temple) along with the temple of many different kings of Nguyen Dynasty (The To Temple).
– Area of King’s grandmother and mother (back and right side): consists of the system of Truong Sanh Palace (for King’s grandmother) and Dien Tho Palace (for Kings’ mother).
– Area for prince to study and entertain such as Co Ha Garden, Kham Van court hall, etc.
– Other areas such as storage (Home Affairs Palace) or the mill to process the utensils for royal family.
Although there are many construction works with different shapes built in the area of citadel, they are set in a harmony structure with nature of big and small lakes, flower gardens, stone bridges, islands and many kinds of perennial plants. The scale of each construction work is different from each other, however they are designed in the same style of double roof on a foundation that are all laid on a high stone foundation, the seam pressed by stone and the floor pressed by Ba Trang brick with blue or yellow enamel, the roof is covered by one special kind of glazing tile with tubular shape. The big pillars are painted and decorated by the motif of dragon and cloud. The interior of the palace is decorated by the style that one picture is accompanied with a poem in which there are many poem written by Han script.
One thing is prominent here is the strong distinction of man and woman, old and young ones, higher and lower order according to their position that is applied for everyone including members of royal family, mother or child of the king also.
There are distinctive paths for woman and man, civil order mandarin and military order mandarin. Everyone has to follow the principle that all of the power belongs to the king, specially in the reign of King Minh Mang.
Up to now, the citadel has experienced so many changes for many years, hundreds of construction works in the Inner City only remains a half of the original number. However, it is a representative of a national invaluable property that is the most massive structure being built in the history of modern Vietnam involving thousands of workers, millions cubic meters of rock and huge volume of burden workload. Nowadays, the monument of the Inner City still remains almost the original shape together with other monuments in the same population recognized as World Heritage by humanity.
Thanks to the government’s investment and the helpful support of many other countries by the campaign to rescue and preserve the material and spiritual value of the monument, many monument of Hue imperial palace has been restored and returned to the primitive state. Moreover, many other construction works are being maintained and repaired that contributed significantly into the process to preserve the historical relics of the last feudal dynasty of Vietnam.