Built around the curves of the poetically named Perfume River, Hue is as achingly lovely as it is historically significant. It was a city of tremendous wealth and power from 1802 to 1945, when the Nguyen emperors lived and reigned supreme. Among their striking architectural landmarks, the most notable is the Imperial Citadel, a central walled fortress of sumptuously decorated palaces and pagodas from both the Hoang Thanh (Imperial City) and the Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Purple City). It came under heavy fire during the Vietnam War, but the surviving buildings are stunning enough to inspire hours of exploring.
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