Hue © PublicDomainPictures
Once the Nguyen Dynasty's capital, the royal city of
Hué is situated on the country's central coast, midway
between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It is a serene place, a small
city of canals boasting splendid historical sights, and is
dominated by its massive Citadel, and the former Forbidden Purple
City. Most of its beautiful imperial architecture was destroyed
during the 1968 Tet Offensive, when the North Vietnamese launched
an attack on the south. Yet despite a tumultuous history, it
retains much of its cultural identity and has been recognised as a
Cultural World Heritage Site.
Hué is also an important centre for Buddhism
and hundreds of temples and pagodas exist around the city, such as
the Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the most famous structures in the
country. The Perfume River lies between the city and the remains of
the mighty Citadel with many attractions along its banks. Sampan
boat trips on the river offer an enchanting way to see the main
sights in and around Hué, including the splendid tombs of
the Nguyen emperors a few miles south of the city.
Along with its historical sights, Hué is also
the main starting point for day tours to the DMZ (Demilitarised
Zone), a historical area spanning both sides of the former border
between north and south Vietnam, and the Vinh Moc underground
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