Photo Essay: Việt Nam’s Imperial City of Huế

Several weeks ago I shared some of our photos from our time in Hội An. During that same trip we traveled a bit further north to Huế. Throughout the 19th and early 20th Century, Huế was the seat of power for Việt Nam’s Nguyễn dynasty. While the Nguyễn ruled from Huế, the French also ruled over the country. Many of the kings worked together with the French, especially near the end of the dynasty, which ended around WWII.

Our visit here was brief, really only one full day. We spent the morning visiting the Imperial Palace Grounds. Even after three hours of exploration, it felt like we had only scratch the surface of all there was to see there. In the afternoon we did a tour of three tombs. Each Nguyễn king created a retreat for themselves outside the heart of Huế. These peaceful compounds were also their future tombs. Although they each have their own character, 4 essential elements remain the same:

1) Salutatory square with statues of mandarin guards and elephants to keep the King company,

2) Lotus pond,

3) Temple for worshiping the ruler,

4) Tomb.

The Imperial Citadel

The gardens surrounding some of the royal city’s buildings provided a welcome place to rest and relax.


The library was one of the most stunning buildings on the complex. 

David feeds koi fish.

These three doors provided an entrance for the mandarin’s, soldiers. and elephants. Now, they serve as the entrance to the royal complex.



Mandarin statues guard the entrance to the Khải Định tomb complex.

Each staircase is guarded by a large stone dragon.

Khải Định’s tomb is built up a steep hill, creating beautiful views of the surrounding forest.

The harsh, humid climate wears down the buildings at Ming Mạng’s tomb.

Mandarin’s guard the entrance to Ming Mạng’s tomb.

Great attention is paid to every detail at Ming Mạng’s tomb.

The gardens were very impressive at the tomb of Ming Mạng.

The sun begins to set at the tomb of Tự Đức.

One Reply to “Photo Essay: Việt Nam’s Imperial City of Huế”

  1. What great pictures! Thanks for the look at this special place! 💕 Keep the adventures rolling!

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