The Hue citadel is a colossal fortification complex, largest and most strongly – built in Vietnam’s monarchy. Constructed during three first decades of the 19th century, it called for a lot of mind, materials and toil of the whole country.
Before the construction work started, the Nguyen Court had bettered the navigation network in the vast expanse north of the Perfume River. It was there that two rivers were filled up for the citadel site and two others were dug, one inside the citadel known as the Royal Canal and one outside called the Defensive River. A moat round the citadel was also created as the second defense line.
It is believed that the citadel was built on Vauban (French) design. The area covering 520sq.hectares is almost square in shape. It’s wall 6.60m high, 21m thick and over 10,000m in circumference is built serratedly to provide positions for 24 bastions armed with over 400 cannons.
Access to the citadel can be made by 10 entrances, each with a two – storied watch – tower.
The Hue citadel is planned and constructed on traditional principles of architecture. Within it, interlacing roads form separate quarters such as those of Six Ministries, barracks, Insitute of Security Council, Museum,, National Institute of History, National Archives, National University, Lake of the Serene Heart, etc…
Among monuments closely related to the citadel are the Flag – Tower, Observatory, Pavilion of Edicts, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, etc…
An intermingling of Occidental and Oriental architecture and result of apt use of local geographical features, the Hue citadel was once a masterpiece of the Vietnamese people.