ATTRACTIONS - Outside the Imperial City

These sites in the Citadel are located outside the Imperial City

KitesAcross from the Ngo Mon Gate is Vietnam’s tallest FLAGTOWER. Originally built in the early 19th century (and rebuilt a couple times after storms and fires), the 37m, red-brick base provides a vantage point for much of Hue. VC troops briefly flew their flag here for a couple weeks following the Tet Offensive. The best time to visit the area is as dusk approaches, and locals come out in droves. Kids fly neon-colored and Batman-shaped KITES and young co-ed groups flirt, eat ice cream and play games you can easily join.

Another interesting thing to do is ride a walk or motorbike around the 2.5km imperial city walls. The moated walls make for interesting views, and there are a couple real-deal local cafes facing the northern wall gate, where you can sit and wonder why or how eunuch parents agreed to their son’s testicular-free fates.

Immediately east of the imperial city’s main entrance are a couple neighboring museums you can walk to. More interesting for its building, the MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS (3 Le Truc St; admission US$1.40; open 6.30am-5.30pm) occupies a gorgeous 1845 building that was relocated here in 1909 from the imperial city (thus saving it). It became a museum in 1923. The exhibit includes many pieces of former emperors: silver and bronze pieces, dinner plates, pots, kilns giving by arse-kissing diplomats.

GrenadesAcross the road, but accessed a block south, is the typical HISTORY & REVOLUTIONARY MUSEUM (No 1, 23 Thang 8 St; admission free; open 7.30-11am & 1-5pm), popular with locals for photo opps atop the seized US artillery and tanks in the front courtyard. Set up in the former Hue Royal School, the museum itself has three wings. The least interesting or developed is the central building, with ancient pots and royal pieces. The left (west) building is devoted to fighting the French, the right (east) to fighting the US. These exhibits are mostly a collection of photos that retraces Hue’s involvement in the conflicts (one display of a bomb is marked ‘bomb’). But do look for the kerchief gifted to a 16-year-old ‘American killing hero’ and the rampant use of ‘puppet government’ to describe the South Vietnamese leaders. There’s no mention of the 2500 civilians VC troops killed when coming into Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive.

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