Photo: Start here.

The Citadel

Our rating:

Like many of Hue’s historic sites, Hue Citadel is hardly ancient—construction of what you can see today first began in 1805, under the rule of Gia Long, the first of the Nguyen Dynasty rulers. What remains has been ravaged by war, looting and age, but remains a fascinating attraction well worth a half day of your time.

Travel better, travel smarter

Save money, receive our latest updates and get the most out of your travels.


While generally referred to in tourism literature as “The Citadel”, much like a Matryoshka (Russian) doll, the Citadel is really three cities within a city. The all encompassing city is the Citadel, with its imposing brick walls forming a perimeter of almost 10km. Off centre within the Citadel lies the moat-enclosed Imperial City with the circumference of the moat coming in at around the 2.5km mark. At the centre of the Imperial City lies the Purple Forbidden City whose walled perimeter is around 1.3km in length.

A field of sunflowers at the heart of the Forbidden Purple City. Photo taken in or around The Citadel, Hue, Vietnam by Stuart McDonald.

A field of sunflowers at the heart of the Forbidden Purple City. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Today the inner two—the Imperial and Forbidden Purple Cities—form the “museum” part of the affair (and are ticketed, see below for details), while the larger Citadel retains a living breathing Vietnamese city and is easily our favourite part of the entirety of Hue.

Built on a northwest southeast axis, Hue Citadel was the final incarnation of a citadel building boom which raged across Vietnam through the late 18th to mid 19th centuries. Taking place during the reign of Emperor Gia Long (and continued by his successors Minh Mang and Thieu Tri) the citadels were initially built with the assistance of French expertise, though later were largely local efforts—often requiring the recruitment of vast labour reserves. Aside from Hue, citadels were build in Hanoi, Quang Ngai, Lang Son and many other locations across ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,900 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

Don’t miss the boat!

Please subscribe to to read the rest of this article, or log in here.

Subscribing to Travelfish costs A$35 per year and it gets you access to more than 200 downloadable guides to specific destinations, fabulous discount coupons and 50% off our personalised travel planning service. Sign up here.


The Citadel
North bank of the Perfume River, Hue
Daily 07:00 to 18:00
Admission: 150,000 dong for adults, 30,000 dong for kids aged 7-12

Location map for The Citadel

Popular attractions in Hue

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Hue.

Best places to stay in Hue

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Hue.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Hue.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Hue.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Hue.
 Read up on how to get to Hue, or book your transport online with Baolau.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Hue? Please read this.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

See below for more sights and activities in Hue that are listed on

Top of page

Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Hue? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Vietnam.

Top of page