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Hue is the ancient capital of the Nguyen dynasty, and was the capital of Vietnam until the 1940s towards the end of the French occupancy. Much of the city was trashed during the Vietnam American war, particularly during the Tet offensive. Only recently has the cultural significance of the area been fully recognised and efforts are underway to restore the place.

We visited Hue as part of our trip to central Vietnam, when we also visited Hoi An. We only stayed for a night but a full day of wandering the temples and citadel was enough history to keep us happy.

Bridge over the Perfume River

The romantically-named Perfume River (not quite so pleasantly fragrant in reality) runs through the city, and is bridged by this attractively lit steel construction. The colours changed every few seconds and it wasn't very easy to photograph at night! This is the view from the hotel bar.

Looking back out of the main entrance to the Hue citadel, the Vietnamese version of the Forbidden City.


An urning desire

An urn. I haven't got a lot else to say about this I'm afraid...!

We took a cruise on the Perfume River in one of these dragon boats, which took us from near to the hotel up to the Thien Mu Pagoda.

Cruising the Perfume River

Thien Mu Pagoda

Thien Mu pagoda, a couple of miles upriver from the city of Hue. The importance of a Pagoda is indicated by the number of tiers it has, up to a maximum of seven. This one has seven, the bottom one is hidden by the steps.

Bonsai trees! I wish I'd had someone stand next to them when I took the photo, the closest one is perhaps about three feet high.



There is a very well known photo of the monk who owned this car - in protest at the discrimination of Buddhists during the Vietnam American war he drove this car to Saigon, stopped in the middle of the street, sat on the road in the lotus position and burned himself to death. It's said that the only part left of him was his heart.

Looking down to the Perfume River from Thien Mu, this scene looks very stereotypically South-East Asian to me, with the jungle, boat and mist. I like it.


Khai Dinh steps

Khai Dinh tomb is a bit outside the city, and is the resting place of Emperor Khai Dinh who died in 1925, despite the ancient look of his tomb. He was friendly with the French and not particularly great at keeping his own people happy, and died quite unpopular.

The swastika is an ancient symbol used by many groups, only infamously by the Nazis who associated it with being Aryan. However it has been widely used in Buddhism for much longer, although now mostly it faces the other way. This photo was taken from the wrong side of the wall.



Another very oriental scene, I had to wait a while to get this shot to avoid seeing any of the traffic moving on the road which is itself just out of site. This was taken from Khai Dinh.

A different tomb now, Tu Duc, an Emperor who ruled in the mid 19th-century. He was a member of the Nguyen family (pronounced something like "Whin"). Such was the longevity of the family that half the population of Vietnam has Nguyen in their name - not necessarily due to furious reproduction but in order to please the ruling dynasty.

Tu Duc

Messing about on the river

This old chap has the right idea, why have a dog and bark yourself?

Our hotel, the Saigon Morin, was a very comfortable French colonial affair, facing the Perfume River. The bridge starting in front of it is the same bridge as in the first picture on this page.

Hotel Saigon Morin

And the band begins to play

I enjoyed listening to the strange music this band were playing, and I was also pleased with the effect I captured here, the pointy hat lanterns reflecting in the table.

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2006