Complex of Hue Monuments
Hue was established as the capital of undivided Viet Nam in 1802, and served as the governmental, social, and religious center of the Nguyen dynasty until 1945. The Perfume River flows through the City City, the Imperial City, the Forbidden Purple City, and the Inner City, providing this one-of-a-kind feudal capital with a stunning natural backdrop.
Excellent Universal Value Synthesis
The Complex of Hue Monuments is located in and around Hue City in Thua Thien-Hue Province, near Vietnam’s geographical center, with easy access to the sea. Hue, established as the capital of united Vietnam in 1802 CE, was not only the political but also the cultural and religious center of the Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam’s final royal dynasty, from 1802 to 1945 CE.
The new capital’s design adheres to traditional eastern philosophy while also taking into account the physical circumstances of the place.
The Ngu Binh Mountain (also known as the Royal Screen) and the Perfume River, which passes through the city, provide a beautiful natural environment for this unique feudal capital while also defining its symbolic significance. The location was chosen for a mix of natural elements – hills acting as a protective screen in front of the monuments or as “a blue dragon” to the left and “a white tiger” to the right – that shield the main entrance and prevent harmful spirits from entering. The primary characteristics of the city are put up inside this landscape.
The constructions of the Complex of Hue Monuments are meticulously situated within the site’s natural environment and cosmologically linked with the Five Cardinal Points (centre, west, east, north, south), the Five Elements (earth, metal, wood, water, fire), and the Five Colors (yellow, white, blue, black, red).
The Hue Citadel region served as the administrative center of southern Vietnam throughout the 17th and 18th centuries CE. The Hue Citadel housed not just Empire’s administrative and military operations, as well as the Imperial Residence, the Hoang Thanh (Imperial City), the Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Purple City), and other royal palaces.
Tran Binh Dai, an extra defense construction in the Capital City’s north-east corner, was built to regulate river flow. Tran Hai Thanh, another fortification built later, was built to protect the city from marine attacks.
There are some significant monuments located outside of the Capital City. Important ceremonial sites linked to the empire’s religious life, including the Van Mieu (Temple of Literature), the Dan Nam Giao (Esplanade of Sacrifice to Heaven and Earth), the Ho Quyen (Royal Area), the Den Voi Re (Temple of the Roaring Elephant), and the Chua Thien Mu, were situated in the surrounding suburbs (Celestial Lady Pagoda).
Criterion (iv): The Hue Monument Complex is an exemplary example of an eastern feudal capital.
The location of the Complex of Hue Monuments has been impacted by three wars, as well as modern construction and growing human populations. Nonetheless, the complex of monuments within their landscape context has been sufficiently well conserved or recorded as a whole to establish that the site’s overall integrity has been maintained.
Within the property’s and its buffer zone’s well-protected limits, all of the major aspects of monumental arts and town planning required to represent the significance for which the site is placed on the World Heritage List are included. Nevertheless, neither boundary includes the property’s larger landscape context, its interaction with the natural environment, or the other temples and tombs along the Perfume River related with the structures within it.
The distinctive arrangement of the design of the site, which became the imperial capital of the Vietnam Empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries, explains the validity of the Complex of Hue Monuments. The site’s essential architectural and landscape characteristics have been preserved from their initial construction in the early nineteenth century CE.
The Perfume River’s natural environment, within which the citadel, temples, and tombs have been planned out according to geomantic principles, illustrates the symbolic meaning, beauty, and significance of the location. Within this context, the original plan is still visible. However, some of the characteristics that allow comprehension of the river’s larger connection are outside the limit. Urbanization and infrastructural expansion may jeopardize the town’s overall setting within its terrain.
Even though some of the structures are now in ruins and the majority of the ‘s magnitude monuments have been sorely tested, this has been done using traditional techniques and materials in accordance with international professional conservation standards to ensure the monuments’ authenticity.
Concerns remain that floods, insect damage, and inappropriate development inside the site might jeopardize the site’s authenticity and capacity to exhibit its Outstanding Universal Value.
Protection and Executing Requirements
The Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam owns the whole Complex of Hue Monuments. The Hue Monuments Conservation Centre, placed directly under the Thua Thien Hue Provincial People’s Committee and guided by the 1972 Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the National Heritage Law (2001, revised in 2009), and a number of other provincial regulations and decisions, is the institution responsible for the complex’s management and the protection of its universal value.
The Complex of Hue Monuments is given special attention in Thua Thien Hue Province’s Socio-Economic Development Master Plan, which offers guidance for the complex’s protection and restoration through 2020. In addition, on June 7, 2010, the Prime Minister authorized an Adjusted Planning Framework for the Complex of Hue Monuments (2010-2020). This should govern any future infrastructure developments that may have an impact on the property. The specifics of how this will protect the site should be addressed in the Management Plan, which should be linked into the Hue regulatory framework (the Master Plan).
The Management Plan must be completed as soon as possible. The Plan’s foundation should be the authorized Statement of Outstanding Universal Value. The protected area is being rezoned in order to restrict expanding urbanization and infrastructural development.
It is critical that the necessary works to lessen the detrimental impact of noise and visual pollution on the Minh Mang and Khai Dinh tombs, as well as the impact of the new motorway, are finished. Any remaining unlawful structures on the property should be demolished.
In addition to development, climate change and natural catastrophes are possible issues for long-term property management. Three dams are being built upstream along the Perfume River to mitigate the impact of recurring floods.
Besides, the ancient water network and drainage system within and around the Citadel will be rebuilt, reducing the susceptibility of the World Heritage site and its people to flood danger and re-creating the old network of ponds and canals.
The amount of tourism at the Hue Monuments is increasing to the point that it must be regulated so that it does not surpass the site’s capacity. This issue should be addressed in the Management Plan as well.