Huế

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About this sound Huế ( in chữ Nôm) is the capital city of Thừa Thiên - Huế province, Vietnam. Between 1802 and 1945, it was the imperial capital of the Nguyễn Dynasty. It is well known for its monuments and architecture. Its population stands at about 340,000 people.

Contents

History

Huế originally rose to prominence as the capital of the Nguyễn Lords, a feudal dynasty which dominated much of southern Vietnam from the 17th to the 19th century. In 1775 when Trịnh Sâm captured it, it was known as Phú Xuân. In 1802, Nguyễn Phúc Ánh (later Emperor Gia Long) succeeded in establishing his control over the whole of Vietnam, thereby making Huế the national capital.[1]

Huế was the national capital until 1945, when Emperor Bảo Đại abdicated and a communist government was established in Hà Nội (Hanoi), in the north.[2] 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 and the full acceptance of the Vietnamese people), his new capital was Sài Gòn (Saigon), in the south.[3]

In the Vietnam War, Huế’s central position placed it very near the border between North Vietnam and South Vietnam; however, the city was located in South Vietnam. In the Tết Offensive of 1968, during the Battle of Huế, the city suffered considerable damage not only to its physical features, but its reputation as well, most of it from American firepower and bombings on the historical buildings as well as the massacre at Huế committed by the communist forces. After the war’s conclusion, many of the historic features of Huế were neglected because they were seen by the victorious regime and some other Vietnamese as "relics from the feudal regime"; the Vietnamese Communist Party doctrine officially described the Nguyễn Dynasty as "feudal" and "reactionary." There has since been a change of policy, however, and many historical areas of the city are currently being restored.

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