Huế – tombs, palaces and pagodas

Huế was once the imperial capital of the Nguyễn Dynasty, a mighty lineage who’s Emperors ruled for over 100 years. The city is dotted with palaces, pagodas, tombs and temples – all of which point back to the Nguyễn’s mighty rule in Vietnam. Here’s a few of my favourite photos from my two days spent there.

The citadel in central Huế was once the imperial palace of the Emperor, it was heavily bombed and destroyed by natural disasters and wars, but a few buildings remain, and some have been reconstructed so we can see them as they once might have been. The area is massive, and in the heat of the day it does take a while to walk around. It’s interesting to learn about the history of the dynasty, and how their rule came to an end with the French colonisation.

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These Chinese symbols are everywhere, and likewise is the language, as Vietnamese once used modified Chinese symbols.

The next day I hopped on the back of a motorbike taxi and asked him to take me to some tombs (of the Nguyễn Emperors) and an iconic Vietnamese pagoda. It was strange to be sitting on the back of a bike with a complete stranger, and at times I did wonder where the heck we were heading – as he sped down tiny dirt tracks in small villages – but he kept me safe and it was a great way to experience Vietnam and my chosen sites. All the tombs are different, and relate to the particulate tastes of the Emperor in question. Often they spent years designing and building their after death resting places, and even used them as palaces during their lifetime.

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Lastly I visited one of the iconic pagodas in Vietnam, a beautiful structure that overlooks the river.

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There is plenty to do in Huế if you go out of the way, as quite a few of the attractions aren’t necessarily easy to get to. If you love visiting old buildings and sites, then you’ll enjoy Huế – as otherwise there isn’t a lot more to do. Nevertheless I did enjoy my few days of exploring this interesting city, as it gives you a real insight into the history of a once magnificent dynasty.

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