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22 August 2021

Huế - Việt Nam - the city of emperors - prologue


Hello Folks✌️

Do you know that today is a special day?

There are several reasons for this.

We have just reached the halfway point of lunar July. Today, on August 22, Gregorian, we have a full moon. This is one of those fullness that is quite unusual. We call it the "blue full moon". It is the third of four full moons between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox. Moreover, it is the second full moon in August. If you believe the astrologers, this is a particularly important moment in our lives.

This name has little to do with the color of the moon that will appear in the sky today. Occasionally, the color of the moon's disc may appear slightly bluish due to the dust particles suspended in the air and fine water particles. This is due to the passage of reflected light from the moon's surface through the thin Earth's atmosphere, which may appear slightly bluish as a result of absorbing light waves. At the same time, the full moon falls in Aquarius, which we call the "blue new moon". This is the second such full moon this year. This is an amazing time to make up for what has been missed.


The second reason why I consider this day special is the fact that today I am publishing ...
the SIXTYTH article on my blog :).


I must admit that I am very positively surprised. In just over a year, it is quite a feat to create 60 articles which, as I can see from the analytics of my blog, meet your positive reception.

Thank you for reading, thank you for being there.

Please pass on. Share it on Facebook or on your message boards. Wherever you are active, it will be nice if you share the articles. Thank you!


Another event that I consider to make this day special is that we will be visiting the central part
of Việt Nam
today, specifically the first capital of this beautiful country. It is one of the "5 capitals" -
a city located at the mouth of the Perfume River. A city with an extremely turbulent history in its past. After all, a city that is the cradle of Vietnamese emperors.

If you want to feel immortal, experience a spiritual transformation, Huế is the perfect place to try it.

And since today is a full moon, every wish comes true ...



City of Emperors - prologue

My trip to Huế is part of a holiday trip from Đồng Hới to Hội An.

I covered the entire route from north to south in a week, using various means of transport. By train from Đồng Hới to Huế, by car over Hải Vân Pass, to Đà Nẵng and Hội An. I visited two of the most beautiful and largest caves in the world in the Phong Nha Kẻ Bàng National Park, Ba Na Hills in Đà Nẵng and also a visit to the city of lanterns - Hội An.

Today it's time to visit Huế - the city of emperors.

It took me several hours to travel to Huế by train. I used the famous north-south railroad.

I have already written about traveling by trains in Asia in my report from India, and I wrote a few words about it in the article about the railway street in Hà Nội. Feel free to read and share the articles on social media.

I chose one of the booking.com hotels for $ 30 per night. It is a guesthouse with a swimming pool, beautifully situated on the bank of the Perfume River, so you could spend pleasant evenings in the hotel garden, relaxing after days full of excitement.



We are ... immortal?

I spent three days in Huế, including one day for a trip to Hội An, which I wrote about in the article about the city of lanterns and the Polish architect, Kazik.

My plan was to visit the imperial tombs - Khiêm Lang and Ứng Long Khải Định, Kinh Thành Huế Citadel and visit the most beautiful weather on the Perfume River - Chùa Thiên Mụ. By the way, I could see the production of Buddhist incense sticks.



There is no shortage of attractions in Huế. Two days is the absolute minimum to experience the charms of this place. To make the most of my time, I went sightseeing around Huế, using the hotel car. The hotel staff also helped me create the route.

We started with Thủy Thanh - a historic wooden bridge, recognized as an extremely valuable artistically building inscribed as a relic of the cultural heritage of Việt Nam.



The further route led to the Mausoleum of Emperor Khải Định. This impressive structure, which took decades to build, is a mixture of French and Indian styles. Gray sandstone covered with black fungus, monstrous stairs and gate are impressive.



After an hour's visit, I went to the next mausoleum. This time the emperor Tự Đức. A beautifully landscaped park, many temple buildings and tombs. All this confirms that Tự Đức was not only an efficient financier but also an aesthetic sense. In the vicinity of the mausoleum, I recommend looking at the production of colorful incense sticks.



Time to go across the only bridge in the area on the Perfume River to go to Chùa Thiên Mụ - a beautiful pagoda. It can be reached by bike from Huế - a nicely arranged bicycle path leads to it. Or you can take one of the walking boats from downtown Huế. It is an amazing opportunity to admire the monuments from the river's perspective.

After another hour spent in the gardens of the pagoda, I returned to Huế, where I was able to visit the Citadel.

All these attractions themselves are so interesting that I will devote a separate article to each of them. Be cautious :).



A bit of history ...

It is good to start your visit to Huế with a little drive around the Citadel. The narrow streets of Huế hide unusual places. These are a few "gems" that are worth seeing.

Ask the taxi driver to take you to the main gate of the Citadel. It lies opposite the Hiển Nhân gate embedded in the defensive walls. Over the walls, the huge flag of Việt Nam flutters proudly. It is a characteristic point and both tourist groups and individual tourists gather around this place. It is also the beginning and end of the tour around the Citadel. You will find local guides and rickshaws here.

It was with a rickshaw ride around the Citadel that started my tour of Huế.



The history of the city is extremely interesting and goes back hundreds of years, up to the seventeenth century.

Huế is a city in central Việt Nam, on the sông Hương - Perfume River. Until the 17th century it was called Phú Xuân. At the end of the 16th century, Việt Nam, nominally ruled by the Lê dynasty, was divided between two magnate families: the Trịnh and the Nguyễn. The Nguyễns fell to the south of Việt Nam, the former Cham lands, then occupied by the Cù Mông Pass. In 1687, the Nguyễns established a new seat - the capital, in the town of Phú Xuân, located on the Perfume River, several kilometers from the mouth. A huge citadel was built near the city, where the Nguyễn court resided until 1775. In early December 1788, the middle of the Nguyễn Huệ brothers proclaimed himself emperor of the north. He established the provisional capital of his empire in Phú Xuân. In 1801, the city was conquered by the troops of Nguyễn Ánha, who, without waiting for the capture of Hà Nội, proclaimed himself emperor, and moved the capital of Việt Nam to his hometown. The origin of the name Huế is unknown. It appeared in documents as early as the 17th century, and over time it replaced the previous one.

It functioned as the capital of Huế until 1945. After the Geneva Conference, Huế found itself in the immediate vicinity of the demarcation line, with disastrous results. During the Việt Nam War, it was damaged many times by both sides.

After the war, the city was rebuilt, the citadel and the forbidden Purple City were also restored, in which a large team of Polish conservators led by Kazimierz Kwiatkowski had a large part, the same one who saved Hội An and the Cham tower churches.

Riding such a rickshaw, we have the opportunity to learn a bit of the city's history, local legends and visit these slightly hidden curiosities. So we go through the shaded streets to the ceramics museum. It is worth visiting the exhibition of ceramic art in the region, seeing tin and brass tools and home furnishings, some military and a lot of traditional folk costumes. A beautiful patio invites you to stroll.



Next, the route leads to the local art museum Không Gian Văn Hóa Lúc - it is a meticulously recreated building where you can see traditional folk crafts - kites, paper cutouts and even try to make the icon of   Việt Nam - a pyramidal hat with your own hands.

I encourage you to drink the tea served on the spot. Everything royally - Royal Tea, Royal Crafts...



After a moment of rest, we go to the museum of the Hồ Chí Minh family. This is where the Hồ Chí Minh family lived, 5 people, in a small house. It reflects the realities of life in Việt Nam. The cottage is nicely restored, full of exhibits and worth a look. Little Minh came to live there as a 5-year-old boy and lived here for 10 years.



There is a folk handicraft shop nearby - a shop like a shop, but it is worth going deeper into the beautiful, Japanese-styled garden.

You can rest for a while, drink tea and admire the beautiful vegetation, ponds, bridges and, of course, the ceramics that you can see and buy.

During the entire route, it is worth talking to the rickshaw driver. Most speak English or Russian and are very eager to tell stories related to the places they visit.

The cost of such a ride is 200,000 VND. By the way, you can learn a lot about the city itself and see some interesting places that are usually omitted in guidebooks.



Knowing the history of the city, knowing where I would like to go the next day, I finish my first encounter with Huế, the city of Emperors.

Time to relax, savoring a beer on the bank of the Perfume River and tune in to visit the imperial tombs.

When visiting the tombs of the emperors, you can really feel what immortality means.

In one of the mausoleums, right after the death of Emperor Tự Đức, the entrance gate was closed, which remains closed until today and no one has the right to pass through this gate. Only the Emperor.


Everyone is waiting for it to happen. But more on that in the next article.
Ars longa, vitae brevis.



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