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Hue is located in central Vietnam on the banks of Perfume River (Sông Hương), just a few miles inland from the East Sea. It is about 700 kilometers (438 miles) south of the national capital of Hanoi and about 1100 kilometers (690 miles) north of Hochiminh City.
Hue was the capital of 9 reigns of Nguyen. Hue still retains culture heritage and intangible heritage which contains values of wisdom and spirit of Vietnam.
Hue people take their pride in a long-lasting history. The city has gone through 7 centuries of establishment and development. In 1802, Hue became Vietnam’s capital when Emperor Gia Long, the first King of the Nguyen emperors (Nguyen dynasty), chose the location for the imperial city. The city remained the nation’s capital until 1945, when Bao Dai, the last of the Nguyen emperors, abdicated and a communist government was established in Hanoi. In the Vietnam War, Huế’s central position placed it very near the border between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. Thanks to the long precious history, Hue has integrated material and spiritual values, which become its own unique special Culture.
Imperial Citadel and & tomb Architecture: Hue is one of the main cultural, religious and educational centers of Vietnam. So far, Hue remains to be the only originally historical vestige city in Vietnam. Many of Hue’s attractions are found along the banks of the romantically named Perfume River with 11km length. This valuable construction includes more than 100 architectural works, which are the reflection of the life of Emperors and mandarins under Nguyen’s reign.
Royal Music: A lot of foreign tourists are curious about Hue’s ritual royal music. Originated from 8 kinds of ritual music under Le dynasty, under Nguyen dynasty, it has improved into 2 kinds of music: “Dai nhac” and “Nha nhac”, which are really magnificent, and skillful. Those are only played on formal occasions. This city is proud to be the cadre of traditional music. The Royal Refined Music was proclaimed by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on December 1993.
Religion: Hue is also an important center of Buddhism. In Hue and the surroundings still exists tens of pagodas constructed more than 300 years ago, and a hundred of temples and pagodas built in the early century. Thien Mu Pagoda, with its distinctive seven-storey octagonal tower.
Besides all these, Hue’s culture is also found in its famous “non la” or conical hats. A foreign friend of mine had a chance to meet a long-haired Hue’s Vietnamese girl in the traditional violet long dress and a graceful conical hat. And can you guess what happened? He fell in love with her at first sight, and they are now a very happy couple – husband and wife!! Vietnamese cultural grace could win any heart!
Festival and Cuisine: Festivals are also attractions of Hue. There are two main kinds of festival here. Royal festival reflects the life and ritual activities of Nguyen dynasty, almost paying more attention to the ritual than the ceremony. Folk festival consists of multi activities such as Hue Nam festival in Hon Chen temple which follow Champa’s belief, handicraft’s father memory festivals, and some cultural activities as boat racing, westling,…
The cuisine of Hue are rich, but one of the most striking differences is the prominence of vegetarianism in the city. Several all-vegetarian restaurants are scattered in various corners of the city to serve the locals who have a strong tradition of eating vegetarian twice a month, as part of their Buddhist beliefs.
Activities: Once known as the ancient capital of Vietnam, Hue is now like a bass note of a lively music writing a dynamic Vietnam. Here converge all interests that draw travelers’ sense of discovery, from fascinating culture, art and architecture, unique cuisine, handicraft villages, great history to picturesque landscapes. Those who wish to explore all the highlights of this lovely city might want to check out these Hue day tour itineraries at Viet Soul Tours that cover the most popular attractions in Hue as well as interesting villages and places in the vicinity.