After arriving in Huế, roughly in the middle of the country, after a 23.5 hour train ride through Vietnam, we naturally wanted to visit the Huế Citadel. This palace was built on the model of the Forbidden City and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. Since we had not yet made so much contact with Asian empires and dynasties, we were of course very excited about what awaits us here.
Things to know about the Citadel of Huế
Before visiting a place it is always advisable to know the most important information and features of the sights.
The Huế Citadel has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993, and the complex has been undergoing renovation since 2015. So far, more than 60 million euros have been invested in the renovation of the palace. The citadel was built as the residence of the emperor of the Nguyễn dynasty. The then emperor Gia Long is considered the founder of the citadel. Construction began in 1804 on a 10-kilometer-long earthen wall surrounded by a 20-meter-wide . This can still be seen very well today. The earthen wall was replaced by stones in the 1800s to make it a real fortress. It was not until the son of Gia Long that the complex was completed.The model of the complex e was the Forbidden City of the Chinese Ming Dynasty.
The citadel of Huế faces south (just like the forbidden city). There are a total of 10 gates leading into the complex. Inside the complex there is a temple, lakes, reception halls, living quarters and workrooms. In between you will find a variety of great gardens and parks. Much of the complex was destroyed by the Americans during the Vietnam War. Since many Vietnamese entrenched themselves here. Today, the only reminder of the war is actually the exhibition of various war equipment near the palace.
Of course, when you visit the huge complex, you also have to pay an entrance fee. These great walls and buildings must be maintained and of course that costs money. Again, a distinction is made whether it is Vietnamese or foreign tourists. For foreigners, the price is 200,000 VDN which is about 8 euros. There are also various combination tickets that can be worthwhile if you want to visit several plants in the area. Since we still did not know which plants we want to see, we have decided for the simple ticket.
There is also the option to book an audio guide or a normal guide for an extra charge.
Opening hours Huế Citadel
The entire complex is open Monday to Sunday every day from 08.00 – 17.30. On Thursdays there is a day that allows to visit the palace complex until 22.00.
Is it worth a visit?
The complex is definitely worth a visit in our eyes. The mild and pleasant climate invites you to linger in the complex and you can quite relaxed to admire the huge palace from the Vietnamese Nguyễn dynasty. What was a bit of a shame, however, when we visited the complex in January 2020, was the fact that many parts of the complex were still being renovated, so that in some parts you walked more through a construction site than through a palace from times long past. So who has never come into contact with such past dynasties should have visited the plant necessarily.