Hue Imperial Citadelthe largest ancient architectural complex in Vietnam

​​​Last Update: 24th October 2020

With a similar architectural style to the Forbidden City in Beijing, Hue Imperial Citadel was originally built in 1802. Offering four city gates, it is surrounded by city moats. It took around 150 years to build the entire structure when Hue was the capital of Vietnam.

Hue Imperial Citadel Fast Facts

  • Name: Hue Imperial Citadel
    Area: 8 x square kilometers
  • Things to do there: Architecture, History and Culture, Photography
  • Who visits: Photographers, History and Culture Lovers, Architects
  • Time required: 2 – 3 x hours

What to expect at the Hue Imperial Citadel

With an area of around 8 square kilometers, Hue Imperial Citadel is located in the north of Hue. The city wall is 8 meters tall. 24 batteries around has guarded the citadel for more than 300 years.

It has 10 gates with a height of 16 meters. The Ngo Mon is the main gate. In front of the gate is a flag platform which was used at imperial ceremonies in the ancient times. Enter the Ngo Mon and you’ll see a large square where the major celebrations of the court were held. Belvedere of the Five Phoenixes and Bell and Drum Towers stand on the gate.

Originally built in 1805 and restored in 1824 and at early 20th Century, Thai Hoa Palace features 7 doors. The base of the palace is 2 meters tall. As the largest building in the citadel, the palace is 30.5 meters deep, 44 meters wide and 11.8 meters tall. It is a combination of Chinese and Vietnam styles. In front of the palace are the stone steps where the civil and military officials stood when they went to court. Thai Hoa Palace was the site where the emperor is enthroned, the emperor’s birthday, and other major festivals are held. There are 80 wooden pillars in the palace. All of them are carved with dragon patterns.

Truong Sanh Residence has a gatehouse decorated with ceramic dragon and phoenix reliefs. Enter the gate and you’ll see a large screen wall with ceramics reliefs of auspicious clouds on. The main color of the reliefs is blue. There is also an oval moat in the area. The wall is yellow.

Forbidden Purple City is also a must-visit in the citadel. The city is composed of the front court and the back residence. The emperor dealt with the government affairs at Qinzheng Palace in the front. In the back are Qiancheng Palace where the emperor lived, Kuntai Palace where the emperess lived, Guangming Palace where the prince lived and Shunhui Courtyard where the maids of honor of different ranks live.

Hue Jungle Crevice is a place where thousands of people were killed by the Viet Cong during their control of the country through pushing them to the cliff. It is a sad history.

Best time to visit the Hue Imperial Citadel

The best time to visit Hue Imperial Citadel is in the morning as the sun is not strong.

You could visit the citadel around the year.

How to get to the Hue Imperial Citadel

There is no direct bus from Hue to the citadel. You could rent a vehicle to it.

Additional Hue Imperial Citadel Travel Advice

  • Opening hours: 08:00 – 17:30 (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday); 08:00 – 22:00 (Thursday)
  • As at 24th October 2020, the entrance pricing to the citadel is 150,000 VND per person. For the latest pricing information, please contact us via email (
  • Please don’t wear shorts, short skirt or dress, slippery there.
  • Please wear sunscreen cream with you if you are planning to visit it in the late morning.

Interested in visiting the Hue Imperial Citadel on a Tour?

Wendy Wei Tours offers a variety of different packaged tours as well as custom tours including the Hue Imperial Citadel among other attractions and destinations. To find out more, please visit our Tours page or Contact Us directly to find out more.