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Meridian Gate in ancient Hue citadel open to visitors after 8 years of renovation

Wednesday, January 20, 2021, 14:12 GMT+7
Meridian Gate in ancient Hue citadel open to visitors after 8 years of renovation
People visit the Meridian Gate at the Imperial City located within the citadel of Hue in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, after its restoration. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The main gate to the Imperial City located within the citadel of Hue in the namesake city in central Vietnam has been open to visitors for the first time in eight years after the project revamping its look was completed.

The Meridian Gate, also known as the South Gate or Ngo Mon in Vietnamese, is one of the major architectural relics from the Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam’s last monarchy, in Hue, the capital city of the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

Located in front of the Throne Palace and facing the Flag Tower, the Meridian Gate is the main entrance to the old Imperial City of Hue. 

It is a huge U-shaped construction consisting of a brick and stone foundation and a wooden pavilion with terracotta tiles.

The Meridian Gate’s upper pavilion, known as Lau Ngu Phung (Pavilion of Five Phoenixes), is pictured at the Imperial City located within the citadel of Hue in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, after its restoration. Photo: VGP

The Meridian Gate’s upper pavilion, known as Lau Ngu Phung (Pavilion of Five Phoenixes), is pictured at the Imperial City located within the citadel of Hue in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, after its restoration. Photo: VGP

The longest and widest sides of this 5.2-meter-high foundation measure 50 meters and 27 meters, respectively.

The top can be accessed through two open stone staircases on both sides.

There are five entrances to the citadel, the main one being the Meridian Gate.

Two side entrances, the left and right gates, were for civil and military mandarins.

Inside the structure are two more gates used by soldiers, elephants, and horses for the royal procession.

A decorative Asian dragon on the roof of the Meridian Gate at the Imperial City located within the citadel of Hue in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, after its restoration. Photo: VGP

A decorative Asian dragon on the roof of the Meridian Gate at the Imperial City located within the citadel of Hue in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: VGP

During the important events for the royalty, the Meridian Gate was turned into a stage.

As the structure had been seriously damaged over time and war, a two-phase project of mass preservation and renovation was kicked off in 2012, with a total investment of more than VND80 billion (US$3.46 million).

The Flag Tower is seen from the Meridian Gate’s upper pavilion, known as Lau Ngu Phung (Pavilion of Five Phoenixes), at the Imperial City located within the citadel of Hue in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, after its restoration. Photo: VGP

The Flag Tower is seen from the Meridian Gate’s upper pavilion, known as Lau Ngu Phung (Pavilion of Five Phoenixes), at the Imperial City located within the citadel of Hue in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, after its restoration. Photo: VGP

Following the completion of the comprehensive restoration, authorities have resumed tourism activities at the Meridian Gate.

In addition, the Hue Monuments Conservation Center is researching to restore some rituals under the Nguyen Dynasty held at the Meridian Gate’s upper pavilion, known as Lau Ngu Phung (Pavilion of Five Phoenixes), including the ceremony of Proclamation of Doctors’ Lists in the mandarin examinations and the Calendar Offering Day, according to the center’s head of scientific research Le Thi An Hoa.

The Meridian Gate’s upper pavilion, known as Lau Ngu Phung (Pavilion of Five Phoenixes), is pictured at the Imperial City located within the citadel of Hue in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, after its restoration. Photo: VGP

The Meridian Gate’s upper pavilion, known as Lau Ngu Phung (Pavilion of Five Phoenixes), is pictured at the Imperial City located within the citadel of Hue in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, after its restoration. Photo: VGP

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