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Images of Destruction and Restoration: Hue Citadel

The Hue Monument Conservation Centre has just launched a poster exhibition that captures the long history of the imperial citadel at Hue. Due to its importance, the monument has been witness to many of the events that make up Vietnam’s modern history and is an icon of the country’s post-war resilience.

The exhibition seeks to show locals and visitors the rich history of the citadel – from its erection by Nguyễn Phúc Ánh in the early 19th century to its reconstruction after decades of war.

The site was severely damaged during the Battle of Hue in 1968 when communist forces used the citadel as their last line of defense against US Marines and the ARVN. At the start of the battle, American forces were ordered not to bomb the city due to its historical and cultural significance. But as the battle raged, this policy was dropped, resulting in the nearly complete destruction of the city, including the citadel. Out of 160 buildings only 10 major sites remained after the battle, such as the Thái Hòa and Cần Thanh temples, Thế Miếu, and Hiển Lâm Các.

Nature has also contributed the deterioration of the structure with major floods and storms occurring in 1953, 1971, 1984 and 1999.

In 1981, calls for restoration increased and the government, along with the help of the international community, revived the site which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

[VietnamNet // Photo via Khánh Hmoong

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