The Forbidden Purple City found in Hue, Vietnam is more than just a tourist attraction, its living history. Built for the Nguyen Dynasty, the entire city is surrounded by a 10km moat and 10 gates. The city is laid out so that there is a citadel within a citadel within a citadel. The first citadel of the city was populated by non-royal commoners. The next was built for important ceremonies. The final citadel is where the Purple Forbidden City was located. Besides royalty, the only ones allowed in this inner sanctum were eunuchs who served the family and the emperor’s concubines.

Built in the early 19th century, the palace grounds were designed by feng shui experts to optimize the energy flow. The structures within the city were meant to resemble the Forbidden City of Beijing. The Forbidden Purple City grew to have hundreds of different rooms and became a vast property.

The Forbidden City has gone through many hardships. What termites and typhoons have not destroyed, war did. Only a few of the historic buildings remain standing after the war with the US. Much of the once majestic city is now covered with rice fields.

Currently, a handful of the structures have been restored and its possible to tour them. Efforts will continue to try and bring the city back to its former glory. A visit to these ruins gives a very hopeful yet sometimes haunting vibe. The story of rebirth for this Forbidden City is very intriguing and is definitely well worth a visit.

Enid Glasgow