Complex of Hue Monuments – UNESCO Heritage in Vietnam



The Complex of Hué Monuments is an unique example of a planned and fully defended feudal capital city in southeast Asia. Hué was the imperial capital of Vietnam between 1802 and 1945. The site consists of the Capital City in Hué, and associated monuments outside of the city. Hué was not only the political but also the cultural and religious centre under the Nguyen dynasty until 1945. The Perfume River winds its way through the Capital City, the Imperial City, the Forbidden Purple City and the Inner City, giving this unique feudal capital a setting of great natural beauty. In 1993, listed in UNESCO Heritage list.


Located in and around Hue City in Thua Thien-Hue Province in the geographical centre of Vietnam and with easy access to the sea.

Around Complex of Hué Monuments

1. The structures of the Complex of Hue Monuments are carefully placed within the natural setting of the site and aligned cosmologically with the Five Cardinal Points (centre, west, east, north, south), the Five Elements (earth, metal, wood, water, fire), and the Five Colours (yellow, white, blue, black, red).

2. The central structure is the Hue Citadel area which was the administrative centre of southern Viet Nam during the 17th and 18th centuries CE. Within the Hue Citadel were located not only administrative and military functions of the Empire, but also the Imperial Residence, the Hoang Thanh (Imperial City), the Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Purple City) and related royal palaces.

3. Tran Binh Dai, an additional defensive work in the north-east corner of the Capital City, was designed to control movement on the river. Another fortress, Tran Hai Thanh, was constructed a little later to protect the capital against assault from the sea.

4. Outside the Capital City there are several associated monuments of importance. In the outlying areas were located important ritual sites related to the spiritual life of the dynasty such as the Van Mieu (Temple of Literature), the Dan Nam Giao (Esplanade of Sacrifice to the Heaven and Earth), the Ho Quyen (Royal Area), the Den Voi Re (Temple of the Roaring Elephant), and the Chua Thien Mu (Celestial Lady Pagoda). Further upstream, arranged along the Perfume River were the tombs of the dynasty’s emperors.

5. The Complex of Hue Monuments is a remarkable example of the planning and construction of a complete defended capital city in a relatively short period in the early years of the 19th century CE. The integrity of the town layout and building design make it an exceptional specimen of late feudal urban planning in East Asia.

6. The authenticity of the Complex of Hue Monuments may be understood through the unique layout of the design of the site, which became the imperial capital of the Vietnam Empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The basic architectural and landscape features of the site have been maintained intact since their original construction in the early 19th century CE.

Best Time to Visit

If you are planning a Travel to Vietnam then best time to visit Vietnam is spring (February to April) and autumn (August to October). The temperatures are more moderate and rainfall is lighter. In spring, March and April have the lowest rainfall across all destinations and temperatures are pleasant, though still cool in the far north.


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