The Citadel (Dai Noi)

The Citadel, hue vietnam

Constructed in 1804, this massive fortress designed for the Gia Long Emperor, is surrounded by a zigzag moat and defensive barrier that’s 21 meters thick. But visitors to this citadel-in-a-citadel-in-a-citadel won’t need to swim across rivers or scale towering walls to get a look inside. The Imperial Enclosure is accessible by crossing one of the 10 pedestrian bridges into the once royal land. Pass through Ngo Mon (Noon) Gate, once reserved for those in power, then wander through Flag Tower (Cot Co) and stare up at the nation’s tallest flagpole before weaving through the Nine Dynastic Urns representing different Nguyen kings.

Nine Dynastic Urns

The Hien Lam Pavilion can be found inside Hue Citadel across the courtyard from the Mieu Temple. It was built in the 1820s in memory of the mandarins who served the Nguyen dynasty. Just in front of the pavilion stand the Nine Dynastic Urns, which were cast in bronze in the 1830s and each dedicated to a different Nguyen emperor.
The urns each have their own name and are uniquely decorated with Vietnamese motifs and patterns, which include stars, rivers, mountains, and oceans. After their casting by Emperor Minh Mang, the Nine Dynastic Urns were placed in position according to the altars within the Mieu Temple. Cao Urn stands slightly forward in the center, with the others sitting behind, symmetrical on either side.

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