Vietnam – Hue – The Citadel & Museums

– NOVEMBER 09-11, 2015

We arrived in the city of Hue after a quick 4 hour bus ride.  The city is typically skipped over by the tourists we have come across, but Jill wanted to stop by here for a couple of nights to see the Citadel.  In a popular culture reference, the second half of Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket takes place primarily in and around the bombed-out ruins of the city of Hue.  Also, the 6th Campaign mission in Call of Duty: Black Ops, takes place in Hue.

Hue was the national capital until 1945, when Emperor Bảo Đại abdicated and a communist government was established in Hanoi, in the north.  While Bảo Đại was briefly proclaimed “Head of State” with the help of the returning French colonialists in 1949 (although not with recognition from the communists or the full acceptance of the Vietnamese people), his new capital was Saigon, in the south.

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Hue City Sights

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Hue City Sights

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Hue City Sights – Dragon Boat River Ride

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Hue City Sights

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Hue City Sights

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Hue City Sights

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Hue City Sights – A Vietnamese furniture mover

The park along the banks of the Perfume River contains the Cong Vien 3/2 Park.  Here are various abstract art sculptures distributed throughout the park.

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

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Hue City Sights – Cong Vien 3/2 Park Sculpture

The Imperial City is a walled fortress and palace in the city of Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam.

The grounds of the Imperial City are protected by fortified ramparts 2 kilometers by 2 kilometers, and ringed by a moat.  The water in the moat is routed from the Huong River (Perfume River) through a series of sluice gates, this enclosure is the Citadel.  Inside the Citadel is the Imperial City, with a perimeter wall some 2.5 kilometers in length.  Within the Imperial City is the Purple Forbidden City, a term similar to the Forbidden City in Beijing.  Access to the innermost enclosure is restricted to the Nguyen imperial family

In June 1802, Emperor Gia Long consulted with geomancers to decide which was the best place for a new palace and citadel to be built.  After the geomancers had decided on a suitable site in Hue, building began in 1804.  Thousands of workers were ordered to produce a wall and moat, 10 kilometers long.  Initially the walls were earthen, but later these earthen walls were replaced by stone walls, 2 meters thick.

The citadel was oriented to face the Huong River to the east.  This was different from the Forbidden City in Beijing, which faces south.  The Emperor’s palace is on the east side of the citadel, nearest the river.  A second set of walls and a second moat was constructed around the Emperor’s palace.  Many more palaces and gates and courtyards and gardens were subsequently added.  The reigns of the last Vietnamese Emperors lasted until the mid-1900s.  At the time, the Purple Forbidden City had many buildings and hundreds of rooms.  It suffered from termite and cyclone damage, but was still very impressive.  Many bullet holes left over from the Vietnam War can be observed on the stone walls.

In the early morning hours of January 31, 1968, as part of the Tet Offensive a Division-sized force of North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong soldiers launched a coordinated attack on Hue seizing most of the city.  During the initial phases of the Battle of Hue, due to Hue’s religious and cultural status, Allied forces were ordered not to bomb or shell the city for fear of destroying the historic structures.  However, as casualties mounted in house-to-house fighting these restrictions were progressively lifted and the fighting caused substantial damage to the Imperial City.  Out of 160 buildings only 10 major sites remain because of the battle, such as the Thái Hòa and Cần Thanh temples, Thế Miếu, and Hiển Lâm Các.  The city was made a UNESCO site in 1993.  The buildings that still remain are being restored and preserved.  The latest and so far the largest restoration project is planned to conclude at the end of 2015 (still in progress at this time).

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel – The Flagtower of Imperial City

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel – The Flagtower of Imperial City

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Hue Citadel – The Flagtower of Imperial City

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Hue Citadel – The Flagtower of Imperial City

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Hue Citadel – Thai Hoa Palace and the Court of Ceremony

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Hue Citadel – Thai Hoa Palace and the Court of Ceremony

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel – Thai Hoa Palace and the Court of Ceremony

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel – Thai Hoa Palace and the Court of Ceremony

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Hue Citadel – Thai Hoa Palace and the Court of Ceremony

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Hue Citadel – The Bridge of Golden Water

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Hue Citadel – The Bridge of Golden Water

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Hue Citadel – The Bridge of Golden Water

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel – The Bridge of Golden Water

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Hue Citadel – The Guardian Statue

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Hue Citadel – Thai Hoa Palace Hall of Supreme Harmony

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel – Thai Hoa Palace Hall of Supreme Harmony and the Golden Water

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel – Thai Hoa Palace Hall of Supreme Harmony

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Hue Citadel – Thai Hoa Palace Hall of Supreme Harmony Interior

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel – Thai Hoa Palace Hall of Supreme Harmony

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel – The Pond and Ornamental Rockeries within the Imperial Enclosure

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Hue Citadel – The Pond and Ornamental Rockeries within the Imperial Enclosure

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Hue Citadel – The Pond and Ornamental Rockeries within the Imperial Enclosure

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Hue Citadel – The Pond and Ornamental Rockeries within the Imperial Enclosure

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Hue Citadel – The Pond and Ornamental Rockeries within the Imperial Enclosure

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Hue Citadel – The Pond and Ornamental Rockeries within the Imperial Enclosure

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Hue Citadel – The Pond and Ornamental Rockeries within the Imperial Enclosure

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Hue Citadel – The Pond and Ornamental Rockeries within the Imperial Enclosure

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Hue Citadel – The Pond and Ornamental Rockeries within the Imperial Enclosure

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel – The Pond and Ornamental Rockeries within the Imperial Enclosure

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel – The Pond and Ornamental Rockeries within the Imperial Enclosure

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel – The Long Corridor

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Hue Citadel – The Long Corridor

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Hue Citadel – The Long Corridor

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Hue Citadel – The Long Corridor

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Hue Citadel – The Long Corridor

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

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Hue Citadel

The ticket to the Citadel also provided access into the Hue Royal Antiquities Museum.  It was established in 1923 and originally was named Musee Khai Dinh.  The main display hall of the museum is Long An palace, built in 1845 under the reign of Thieu Tri emperor (1841-1847).  It was renamed in 2008 Hue Royal Antiquities Museum.  The Royal Military Museum was also adjacent to this site, so we checked out them both.

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Hue Royal Antiquities Museum

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Hue Royal Antiquities Museum

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Hue Royal Antiquities Museum

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Hue Royal Antiquities Museum

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Hue Royal Antiquities Museum

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Hue Royal Military Museum

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Hue Royal Military Museum

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Hue Royal Military Museum

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Hue Royal Military Museum

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Hue Royal Military Museum

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Hue Royal Military Museum

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Hue Royal Military Museum

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Hue Royal Military Museum

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Hue Royal Military Museum

Next we are off to Ninh Binh!

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For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.