Vietnam: 24~Two stabs at Hue’s Imperial City
Now I’ll finally string together the last couple of posts from my 2009 trip to Vietnam.
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After returning from the DMZ tour I had the afternoon to explore Hue before heading south the next day. Half a day wasn’t much but the only thing I wanted to do was return to the old walled city.
When I first arrived in Hue a couple of days before, I did a recce over to the citadel.
The citadel is a city within a city within a city; essentially a walled fortress. It was used from the early 1800s to mid 1900s when the Nguyen family ruled Vietnam. During this time, Hue was regarded as the capital city.
The last Emperor abdicated in 1945 and Vietnam then entered into many years of war with France initially, the USA (and others) later, and of course with itself.
It was far too late in the day to go inside so I decided I may as well just go for a walk around the citadel. I may not have embarked on this If I’d done my homework.
At least temperature wise it was the right time of day for a long walk.
Fast forward two days. Traipsing through a large walled complex is not an activity to be undertaken in the hottest part of the day, particularly if you add on the half hour walk each way. But of course that’s what happened.
It struck me as odd that there were no guidebooks available to purchase. As a result I didn’t really know what I was looking at (some of the captions I researched for this post) and I guarantee I didn’t see all there was to see.
And hot! It was stifling. A bit on the warm side.
In 1968 the Battle of Hue saw most of the city destroyed as the USA and South Vietnamese (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) recaptured Hue from the North Vietnamese Army. The citadel faired poorly with bombs and napalm dropped directly on it, and only a few out of the 160 structures survived.
I can’t remember if I left when I felt I had seen it all, or seen enough. Or maybe I was just hungry. Whatever the reason I walked back to my side of town.
Near drenched through from heat and humidity, my transformation was complete when I got caught in the afternoon downpour.