Thien Mieu Temple, Citadel, Hue – Image courtesy of Gothika/Wikimedia Commons
Introducing the Forbidden Purple City, Hue
The Forbidden Purple City sits at the very centre of the Imperial City and was the former home of the emperor and his concubines.
The only servants allowed into this compound were eunuchs who were (supposedly) no threat to the royal concubines.
Stroll around the ruins of this once magnificent palace that was almost entirely destroyed in past wars.
Venture inside the long, red and gold Thien (or To) Mieu Temple, built by Emperor Minh Mang in 1821. Inside sit shrines paying tribute to 10 of the last Nguyen dynasty emperors, with photos of each emperor and his empress(es) as well as various small artefacts. Under French rule, only those seven liked by the colonial power were honoured – the other three were only added in 1959.
Elsewhere in the Forbidden Purple City, see ancient gateways overgrown with vegetation sitting side-by-side with magnificent restored buildings, including the new Royal Theatre and the Thai Binh Reading Pavilion – most notable for its beautifully landscaped surroundings, including a small lake with stone sculpture.
Catch a performance of the ancient art of nha nhac (courtly dance) in the Royal Traditional Theatre at the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre. (Performances daily, from 9am to 4pm, cost of 20,000VND.
Location: Northern side of the Perfume River, Hue
Hours: Daily 7am - 5:30pm