Hue, the former capital of Vietnam, is known for its beautiful imperial architecture, although a great deal of this was destroyed during the Tet offensive of the Vietnam War in 1968. The Perfume River forms the border between the city itself and the former ‘Forbidden Purple City’, and its mighty Citadel. This ‘city within a city’ with its tombs, pagodas, and lakes covered in lotus flowers was largely destroyed during the Vietnam War (the Royal Library is one of the few buildings still intact), but one can still see evidence of its former magnificence. The Noon Gate, grand entrance into the Imperial City, is opposite the Flagpole of Hue, the tallest pole in the country. The Emperor’s throne was once housed in the Palace of Supreme Harmony where he watched festivities from the Five-Phoenix Pavilion.
Within easy reach of the city are the tombs of several of Vietnam’s emperors. Most interesting, perhaps, are the Tomb of Minh Mang and the Tomb of Tu Duc. The city also houses fine examples of Buddhist pagodas and other temples, such as the Thien Mu Pagoda which sits on a high hill overlooking the Perfume River.