Within nearly 400 years (1558-1945), Hue were successively the Capital city under 9 reigns of Nguyen Lords in Dang Trong, the Capital city of Tay Son Dynasty and then the Capital of the united country under the reign of 13 Emperors of Nguyen Dynasty. Nowadays,HueCitystill bears in it the tangible and intangible cultural heritages containing a number of values symbolizing the intelligence and spirit of Vietnamese people. For centuries, a plenty of quintessence extracted from all over the country have gathered and formed a culture that is full of nation identity. Therefore, when talking aboutHue, people often mention and think of the golden palace, the splendid temples, magnificent tombs, or poetic natural landscapes, etc.
With such object and non-object foundations formed in the early 14th century, Nguyen Lords (16th- 1th century), Tay Son
Reign (at the end of 18th century) and 13 Nguyen Dynasty (1802- 1945) continually developed them and established priceless cultural fortune. The most typical is the Citadel’s relic complex which is included in the UNESCO’s list of the World’s cultural heritages and is compared with other thousand-year old wonders in the world.
Located in the centre ofHueCityand in the North of Perfume River, the architectural system symbolizing the power of Nguyen dynasty remains magnificently despite of a number of upheavals and influence of time. That architectural system consists of theImperialCity, the Citadel and the Purple Forbidden City. These three works are well-matched on an axis from the South to the North. This architectural system is the typical combination model of quintessence of the East and the West. Also, they are situated within a very poetic environment with many symbolic factors so naturally that people always consider them parts of the Citadel. They are Ngu Binh Mount,PerfumeRiver, Gia Vien, Boc Thanh sandbank, etc. In fact, they are in such harmony that people hardly find the influence of human factors on them.
TheImperialCityis surrounded by 4 walls with about 600m long each and 4 gates, one of which is Ngo Mon (Noon Gate), considered the symbol of the Citadel. This is the senior administrative zone under Nguyen Dynasty. Inside the Imperial city is theForbiddenPurpleCity-the place for royal habitation.
The main road through the 3 ramparts bears prominent architectural monuments of Hue such as: Nghinh Luong Dinh, Phu Van Lau, Ky dai (Flag Pole), Ngo Mon (Noon Gate), Thai Hoa temple, Can Chanh temple, Can Thanh temple, Khon Thai temple and Kien Trung, etc. Along this main road there are hundreds of all- size architectural monuments located in balanced in the natural surroundings that make people feel comfortable and harmoniously.
Away from theImperialCityto the West, along the banks ofPerfumeRiverare the tombs of Nguyen Emperors which are considered the architectural achievements ofHueCity. These tombs were constructed for 2 reasons: (1) sight-seeings when the emperors were alive and; (2) the place for everlasting rest when they passed away. With such reasons, these tombs have very unique features of architecture ofVietNam.
Each tomb reflects its owner. For example: Gia Long tomb is simple but magnificent among the forest surroundings, which
shows the bravery of a general experiencing a number of battles. Meanwhile, Minh Mang tomb is splendid and cleverly constructed showing the great will of a talented politician and poet; Thieu tri tomb is solemn and isolated in the quiet field, which partly expresses the fate of an excellent poet but unskillful emperor; and Tu Duc tomb is precisely designed and located in a poetic environment which reminds us of an emperor who was always regretful for what hadn’t been completed.
Along with splendid palaces, temples and tombs,Huealso retains very unique architectural monuments attached to the Royal regulations. These works were designed so cleverly that the structure reached the peak of harmony. Parallel with theImperialCityin its four walls, there is Tran Binh Rampart blocking the water way, Tran Hai rampart blocking the seaway, Hai Van Gate blocking the road in the South. Although these are of an important preventive system, almost nobody pays attention to them because they were so sophisticatedly arranged and constructed. Combined with such architectural constructions, there are some places for sightseeing like Nam Giao Terrain (place for Sacrifice Festival); Xa Tac Terrain (place of worshipping the Saint of Land, the Saint of Rice Plant); Ho Quyen- the only arena for tigers and elephants; Van Mieu (Van Shrine)- place for worshipping Confucius and other steles for doctors in Literature under Nguyen Dynasty.HonChenTemple, intermixing with other natural landscapes such asHuongRiver, Ngu Binh Mount, Vong Canh, Thien An, Thien Thai Hills, which makes a very picturesque photo.
There used to be Royal gardens such as Ngu Vien, Thu Quang, Thuong Mau, Truong Ninh, Thieu Phuong. Such garden architectural style was spread among common people and together with available factors formed the very typical garden housing style inHueCity, this is the reason why people referHueto a garden- house city and we can see ancient garden houses intermixing with the quietHue. Each house of this type is a zoomed out model of theImperialCitywith a screen as Ngu Mount, a small pond asHuongRiver, a small rock-work as Da Vien and Boc Thanh sandbanks. That’s why in such a garden house, poets can easily gain inspirations for their poems, musicians can quickly catch ideas for their songs, etc.
During nearly one and a half century,Hueused to be the Citadel of a feudalist dynasty with political system based on Confucianism and the Capital City of Buddhism. This is the reason why there are hundreds of sacred pagodas located in quiet forests along with the magnificent palace and temple system inHue. Mr. Amadou MahtarM’bow- Former General Manager of UNESCO, was very sophisticated when saying: “Hueis not only a typical model of architecture but is also a spiritual centre of Culture where Buddhism and Confucianism have rooted and mixed with the local traditions, rearing very unique religious, philosophical ideology”.
Together with a feudalism applying Confucius ideologies, in this region, the traditional music and festivals developed much diversified and were of the nation’s identity. The Court had Sacrifice Festivals in Nam Giao, Xa Tac, Lunar New Year, Doan Duong festival, Imperial Audience, Thuong Trieu,…Each type of festival has its owns stages and its main part is royal music. In the common people, there were such types of festivals asHonChenTemple, God of Fish Worshipping Ceremony, Sinh Village Festival, festivals in Communal Houses, in Village,… and it was the music that linked these festivals together. Parallel with royal music, folk music in the common people is known as a very unique and full of nation’s identity by the world. Those are the dance and folk songs which are now being the spiritual food forHuepeople’s souls and a very unique show for tourists.Hueis now the City striving for preservation of its own traditional quintessence, music and other precious spiritual values.
Hue’s traditional music types are now being preserved in the heart of the City. Recently,Huepeople were very pleased and proud of the City whenHueRoyalVestigesPreservationCentertogether with Vietnamese Folk Music Union and other scientists’ suggestions has made a proposal for approval of Hue Court Music to be an Intangible Cultural Heritage Work descending to other generations by mouth of the World by UNESCO. Although everything remains ahead, this action shows the prominence and value ofHuetraditional music.
Hueis now a typical city of festivals inViet Nam. Every two years,Huepeople are delighted and happy to welcome this important festival. In the thoughts of many people, thatHuebecomes of festival city is irresistible because there remains a typical capital city of feudalism whose architectural monuments together with innumerable festivals and traditional music make a smooth combination.
The structure of architecture and landscape makesHuebecome a city of architectural – natural and human harmony.Hue’s architecture is really a blend of religion and life, of ancientness and modern so that the city is now in harmony with the new and young lifestyle nowadays.
With such tangible and intangible cultural vestige values,Hueis a cultural phenomenon ofViet Namand the World. These vestiges are being well conserved with the tireless efforts ofHuepeople and Party,HueRoyalVestigePreservationCenter. On 11/12/1993, the whole nation was very delighted and proud whenHuevestige complex was approved to be the World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO; on 7/11/2003,Hue’s culture was once again acclaimed when Court music (under Nguyen Dynasty) was listed in the World’s Intangible Heritage Works. However, this is not the end because with such high-standard conservation process, the cultural vestiges treasure ofHuewill be found and acclaimed in the Global scope. AndHuewill always be preserved for the sake of the nation and the World so as to be our pride forever.
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