Reputed to be the most beautiful city in Vietnam, Hué was the country’s capital from 1802 to 1945, and has long been a major cultural, religious and educational center. The remains of the huge, moated Citadel, constructed by the Emperor Gia Long from 1804, contain many interesting sights, such as the Nine Holy Cannons, the Imperial Enclosure, the Palace of Supreme Harmony and the Halls of the Mandarins. Sadly, the intriguing Purple Forbidden City was largely destroyed during the Vietnam War. About 15km (9mi) south of Hué are the Royal Tombs.
Hué has many other places of religious and dynastic importance, and some good museums. Hué is about 700km (434mi) from Hanoi and 1100km (682mi) from Ho Chi Minh City. The Reunification Express train running between those cities stops here, and there are frequent flights and buses to both cities.