April 1: An Dinh Palace, Ming Mang’s Tomb, Imperial Citadel
We start the day driving into Hue with a stop at An Dinh Palace , the residence of Prince Vinh Thuy – born in the Purple Forbidden City of the Imperial Citadel and later known as King Bao Dai – who was the 13th and final Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. The palace was seized by the Ngo Dinh government in 1954, and donated to the Revolutionary Government by Bao Dai’s mother, Tu Cung, in 1975. Today this structure is a 30% remainder of once was, reduced by the ravages of war.
We then were the sole passengers on a private cruise on the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda . There is a school for young monks here and the founder of the pagoda is buried on site.
We then visit the tomb of Ming Mang , the second ruling Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, 1820-1841. He was known as keenly interested in European modernization and attempted to introduce to Vietnam, vaccination against small pox starting with the royal family by a French physician. Espousing Confucian Orthodoxy, Ming Mang maintained an isolationist policy toward Christianity. Attempts by the US, England, and France to enter into commercial contracts with Ming Mang were rebuffed. Yet on the domestic front, he built highways, established a postal service, and undertook monetary and agrarian reforms.
This afternoon, we visit the Imperial Citadel , begun in 1804, the residence of Emperors. The complex is surrounded by a wall and moat – 10 kilometers long – within which was a second walled area where the Emperor and his family lived, the Purple Forbidden City. Of the 160 original buildings, only 10 major sites have survived bombing of the Tet Offensive .
And finally we visited the Dong Ba local market in Old Hue.
Dong Ba Market, Old Hue