Anna Belleforte

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Hue Vietnam, Imperial city

Posted by Anna Belleforte on February 8, 2019 at 4:50 AM

Hue has a nice balance. The imperial city, on the Perfume River – so named because of the smell of sweet grasses from upriver – has a citadel/city on one bank and an urbanized core on the other. Buildings on the citadel side are regulated to not exceed the heights of the citadel walls (originally by a French building ordinance, I believe), while modern high-rises are permitted on the other side. What typifies both sides is a kind of civilized feel and spacious planning I’ve not yet seen in other Vietnamese cities. There’s a riverside park with lovely landscaping, stone sculptural art throughout (thanks to an art biennial), and a floating boardwalk away from traffic.
Building a citadel in central Vietnam was attempted on two earlier sites, but the ground was too soft. In the end – at the beginning of the 19th century – they opted for fortuitous Feng Shui building principles: facing a river (which brings prosperity) and backed by high grounds (serving as protection).

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