Hue Imperial City & Tombs

The Emperors of Hue knew how to live.  Lavish cities within cities, daily lunches with 50 prepared dishes to choose from, endless concubines, and then if all that wasn't enough, tombs out in the countryside to relax in peace (well, the concubines got to come too).  The festivals they had were legendary and it wasn't only other people that were invited - photos of elephants, tigers, cows, and other animals were all present (sometimes served for part of the meal as well).

It's been fun exploring this city by motorbike, jumping from one shady spot to another to try to keep the sweating under control in 100+ degree temps.  Yesterday we explored the Imperial City, modeled after Beijing's.  The citadel construction started in 1804. Unfortunately natural disasters, and more recently war, destroyed all but 5 of the buildings in the Imperial City.  Renovations are slowly taking place, with all the corruption most of the fee paid doesn't seem to go into upkeep.  That said, there's a great video at the entrance illustrating what the Imperial City looked like before the war. 

Rice drying

Rice drying

Today we jumped back on our motorbike and headed into the countryside.  It's rice harvesting time so we passed rice drying all throughout the streets.  I never realized how much work it takes for 1 grain of rice...  Blog post perhaps to come on all that we have witnessed driving around SE Asia observing rice paddies. 

Exploring the tombs was a fun element as it's getting hard now to distinguish between all the stunning pagodas we have seen.  After seeing mostly destruction in the Imperial City it was nice to see some intact architecture from the time of the Emperors.  We explored Tomb of Tu Duc and then Tomb of Khai Dinh.  Here are photos from Tu Duc's tomb, click on any to enlarge.

Next we visited the Tomb of Khai Dinh.  With much more European influence this was a distinctly different style than anything I've seen before.  There was mosaics overload, it was hard for the eye to find a place to rest with all the different designs featured!  Again, click on any photo to enlarge.