The complex of Hue monuments lies along the banks of the Perfume River in Hue City and some adjacent areas of Thua Thien-Hue province. Hue is the center of culture, politics, the economics and was the capital of Vietnam under the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945.
From 1306, after the marriage between Princess Huyen Tran and the king of Champa named Che Man; Chau O and Chau Ly which include Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue and a part of the north of Quang Nam today was renamed Thuan Hoa. In the second half of the 15th century, in the reign of Le Thanh Tong, Hue was first known. In 1636, the palace of the Nguyen lords was placed at Kim Long (Hue); but until 1687, it was transferred to Phu Xuan ( Hue Citadel today). In early years of the 18th century, Phu Xuan is the center of politics, economics and culture of Dang Trong (later become Cochinchina). From 1788 to 1801, Phu Xuan became the capital of under Tay Son dynasty.
From 1802 to 1945, Hue was the capital of the whole Vietnam in the reign of the 13 Nguyen kings. At the same time, buildings of historical and cultural value were constructed. A typical example is Hue imperial city; especially 253 works in the Hue Citadel, 7 groups of tombs of 9 Nguyen kings, Nam Giao Esplanade, Ho Quyen and Hon Chen.
On the northern bank of the Perfume River, the system of architecture that represents the power of the centralized regime in the Nguyen dynasty includes three citadels including Hue Capital Citadel, Hue Imperial City and Hue Forbidden City. All these constructions were arranged symmetrically from the south to the north. It can be said that the system of palaces here is a model of the harmonious combination of the cream of architectural Eastern and Western cultures. Moreover, these great works become more attractive when they are set in a stunning natural world with lots of available natural elements such as Ngu Binh mountain, Perfume River, Gia Vien Islet and Boc Thanh Islet.
The Imperial City is surrounded by the citadel wall with the height of approximately 600 meters and 4 entrances. Ngo Mon is the supreme administrative area of Nguyen dynasty and considered the symbol of Hue capital. Inside the Citadel is the Forbidden City, the place for accommodation and daily activities of the Royal family.
Going through all the three citadels, the road that runs from the Perfume river bank carries numerous important constructions of Hue Citadel such as Nghinh Luong Dinh, Phu Van Lau, Ngo Mon, Thai Hoa Palace, Can Chanh Palace, Can Thanh Palace and Khon Thai Palace. Along two sides of the road are hundreds of large and small buildings which are arranged in symmetrical order and colored by natural plants.
Far to the west of the Citadel along the two sides of the Perfume River are tombs of the Nguyen Emperors which are seen as remarkable achievements of unique architecture. The tombs here bring a distinctive style with their own outstand features.
In addition, Hue owns a considerable number of sites belonging to the complex of Hue monuments such as Perfume River, Ngu mountain, Thien Mu pagoda, Bach Ma, Lang Co and Thuan An. At the 17th session of the World Heritage Committee, Colombia from 6 to 12 November 1993, the complex of Hue monuments was recognized as a Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.