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City seal :
City seal
Huế (Vietnam)
Basic data
Country: VietnamVietnam Vietnam
State capital since: 1802 to 1945
Region: Central Vietnam ( Trung Bộ )
Region : Bắc Trung Bộ (Northern Coastal Region)
Province : Thừa Thiên-Huế
ISO 3166-2: VN : VN-26
Coordinates : 16 ° 28 ′  N , 107 ° 35 ′  E Coordinates: 16 ° 28 ′  N , 107 ° 35 ′  E
Waters : Perfume River (Hương Giang)
City residents : 340,000 (calculation 2007)
Further information
Name meaning: harmony
Post Code: 530000 - 539999
Area code : +84 (0) 54
Time zone : UTC +7: 00
Memorial complex at Huế
UNESCO world heritage UNESCO World Heritage Emblem

Minh Mạng mausoleum.jpg
Mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mạng
National territory: VietnamVietnam Vietnam
Type: Culture
Criteria : iii, iv
Reference No .: 678
UNESCO region : Asia and Pacific
History of enrollment
Enrollment: 1993  (session 17)

Huế , formerly Phú Xuân , is an important city with around 340,000 inhabitants in central Vietnam on the Hương Giang (“Perfume River” or “River of Fragrances”). It is located not far from the sea in front of a picturesque hilly and mountainous landscape in the vicinity - there is also the Bach Ma Biosphere Reserve. Huế, which was Vietnam's capital from 1802 to 1945 , is now the capital of the Thừa Thiên-Huế province and has good transport links with a train station, airport and connection to the country's main road. The university city is known, among other things, for its medical college. Huế is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Huế with a cathedral in the city center. A week-long city cultural festival is organized every April.

The citadel with the Forbidden City (actually the palace complex of the Nguyễn dynasty , which provided the Vietnamese emperors from 1802 to 1945), based on the model in Beijing , was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 . The complex was badly damaged during the Tet offensive ( Battle of Huế ) in 1968 and has since been restored in such a way that - although not yet fully restored - it is a magnet for tourists from near and far. The tourist infrastructure of the city of Huế is well positioned with numerous hotels, restaurants and excursion offers in every price range - even in the top range.


Huế is located on the 200-300 meter wide Huong River (the so-called Perfume River), about 10 km away from its mouth in the South China Sea . The city is at 16 ° 28 'N. Br. And 107 ° 35' E. L. In the southwest of the city is the Bach Ma National Park with mountains that rise up to 1500 meters. Between Huế and the city of Đà Nẵng, about 100 km to the south, there is a mountain range that is marked by the cloud pass , a pronounced weather divide. The climate is humid and tropical with an annual rainfall of 3,031 mm and 11–12 humid months.

Religious communities

Traditionally, Buddhism has a strong following in Huế. Taoism and Confucianism are also very popular. There are numerous temples and pagodas in the city, the most significant of which is Thien Mu Pagoda , which is also a Buddhist monastery. There are also a large number of mausoleums, tombs and extensive cemetery facilities in the city and its surroundings. Huế is the seat of a Roman Catholic Archbishop (see Archbishopric Huế ). The proportion of the population of mostly Roman Catholic Christians is around 3.5%. Most Vietnamese - including Christians and those without religion - practice the family ancestor cult. Altars in memory of the ancestors can be found in almost all houses and apartments. In addition to Gautama Buddha and the Buddhas of Mahayana, other deities are worshiped, people believe in spirits and honor the ancestors of the family, to whom sacrifices are regularly made in various ways. Buddhism is often not practiced in its strict form in Vietnam - e.g. B. as meditation - practiced; rather, it is a popular religion, mixed with other formative religious currents that have been integrated into Buddhism. In the Buddhist temples, in addition to statues of Buddha, there are images of numerous gods of the Vietnamese pantheon. Because of their courageous and self-sacrificing intervention up to self-immolation - z. B. 1963 in Saigon the monk Thích Quảng Đức  - the Buddhists of Vietnam enjoy the reputation of drawing attention to grievances.


Heavenly Woman Pagoda, landmark of Huế
  • Citadel and Forbidden City (19th / 20th centuries)
  • Thiên Mụ - or Linh Mụ Pagoda (17th century)
  • Tombs of "emperors" of the Nguyen Dynasty, a few kilometers up the Huong River:
  • catholic cathedral
  • Huế Museum, Provincial Museum, Ho Chí Minh Museum
  • Quốc Học school
  • Bach-Ma National Park
  • Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) - 60 km north of Hué
  • In the Công Viên Thương Bạc Park , on the banks of the Perfume River, the communal temple (Đình) and monks of the Châu Lâm and Huyền Không pagodas run a small calligraphy garden (Vườn thư pháp).

Tourism, economy and infrastructure

Climate diagram Huế

Long-distance bus lines connect Huế with cities across the country, and there are also regular connections to Laos. A railway line connects Huế with Hanoi in the north and Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City in the south. Domestic Vietnamese destinations - Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) - as well as international destinations in Laos, Cambodia and others are served from Phu Bai Airport in Huế (abbreviation: HUI). The leading educational institutions are Huế University and Phu Xuan University .


Huế is the seat of the Huế University, which brings together several universities, including the Medical and Pharmacological University, the Huế University Of Medicine and Pharmacy . According to the official Vietnamese version, this was originally a college, was given its current name in 2007 and is also directly subordinate to the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET). According to two German scientific works on the history of its founding, today's university was initially a faculty of the university that, although founded earlier, did not start regular teaching until 1961, when a team of Freiburg doctors under Prof. Horst-Günther Krainick provided the teaching staff. The establishment of the faculty was the first development aid project of the Federal Republic of Germany in South Vietnam. Today the college has 12,800 students.



Excavations of stone tools found in the delta of the Red River ( Tonkin ) testify that Vietnam was settled 10,000 years ago. Similar stone tools have been unearthed in Java, Malaysia, Thailand, and Burma. All over Southeast Asia there are traces from the Neolithic (8000–800 BC) that indicate rice-growing communities.

From the period from 800 to 200 BC Drums made of bronze come from the 3rd century BC and are decorated with images from agriculture, fishing, boat building, music; Stilt houses, animals and birds are also shown. Artifacts of this so-called Dong-Son culture can be found all over Southeast Asia, from China to Indonesia.

Vietnam is characterized by two large river deltas, namely the Mekong delta in the south, with influences from Cambodia and Siam, and that of the Red River in the north, with influences from China and the region of Central Vietnam in between, where there are traces of the Indo-Indonesian Cham culture ( Srivijaya in South Sumatra / Jambi with roots in South India / Tamil Nadu ) - Huế, the former Phú Xuân, is also located in this region.

At the time of Chinese dynasties

Around 111 BC The delta of the Red River in northern Vietnam with the two prefectures Giao Chi and Cuu Chan and later, with increasing population, with seven prefectures belonged to the empire of the Chinese Han dynasty.

In the year 39, two women who are now celebrated as national heroines in Vietnam, the aristocratic sisters Giao Chi and Cuu Chan, successfully resisted increasing Chinese colonization. Other uprisings against Chinese supremacy - partly with the support of the Cham in Central Vietnam, e.g. B. the uprising led by Trieu Au in 248 - followed. Around 600 North Vietnam was under the name Annam (which means something like - seen from Beijing - "pacified south") with the capital Hanoi under the Chinese Tang dynasty until its decline in the 10th century from the Vietnamese side (among other things Ngo Quyen, Dinh Bo Linh, Le Dai Han) repeatedly defended as national property, only annexed part of southern China.

Lý Thái Tổ (974-1028) managed to gain independence from China in 1009. Ly Thai To was the progenitor of the Ly dynasty , which ruled the kingdom of Dai Viet for a period of about 200 years. In 1010 the capital Hanoi was founded and the first university (the so-called Temple of Literature in Hanoi) was founded. Ly Thai To carried out administrative reforms, the Red River was regulated and the Ly dynasty, led by military leaders such as Ly Thuong Kiet (1030–1105), successfully defended itself against attacks from China or from the Cham or Khmer. Culturally, Buddhism was synthesized with Confucian and Taoist teachings during this period. There was also an expansion of the territory deep south, down to the Mekong Delta, at the expense of the Cham Kingdom.

In 1226 the Ly dynasty was replaced by rebels who founded the Tran dynasty and not only had to defend themselves against a China that was strengthening under the Mongols, but also against attacks by the Cham. In 1400, the regent Ho Qui Ly took power and established the Ho Dynasty. Internal enemies collaborated with the Chinese Ming dynasty , who occupied and controlled Dai Viet for a period of 14 years until the so-called Lam Son uprising in 1418, which established the Le dynasty, which lasted until 1788 . The Le dynasty proved to be the most enduring dynasty in the history of Vietnam with Le Lo, who proclaimed himself emperor in 1428, as the first ruler.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the land mass of today's Vietnam, which stretches for more than 2000 kilometers - sweeping far from the Red River Delta in the north to the Mekong Delta in the south - was divided between the Trinh princes who ruled the north - under the nominal suzerainty of the Le dynasty - ruled by the princes of the Nguyen, who controlled the south from Phú Xuân, the later Hu,, but nominally also recognized the suzerainty of the Le dynasty.

Uprising in the 17th century

By 1669 the ruling feudal lords and bureaucrats (mandarins) in both parts of the country had largely expropriated and disenfranchised the peasants through land grabbing, a high tax burden, internal wars and moral indifference, so that - starting from the south - there was a great popular uprising, the so-called Tay –Son rebellion. Led by three brothers (Nguyen Huế, Nguyen Nhac, and Nguyen Lu), the popular uprising swept away established rule in both the south and north of the country.

Nguyen Huế (1753–1792), a great military talent, took over the rule of both parts of the country as the second emperor of the Tay Son dynasty under the name Quang Trung and was hailed for the creation of a reunified Vietnam. He deposed the Nguyen princes in the south, who then tried in vain to reconstruct their power with the support of Siam and an enemy intervention army. In the north, Quang Trung deposed the Le dynasts, who had called a large Chinese force into the country to regain their power. Surprisingly, on the New Year celebrations (that was a first Tet offensive), he fought back the numerically clearly superior Chinese - and subsequently maintained good diplomatic relations with China. This was followed by a brief period of reforms in administration, tax legislation, women's rights, schools and training. On his death in 1792, Quang Trung left a ten-year-old son, whose legitimacy was in question by the opposing Nguyen prince, Prince Nguyễn Phúc Ánh (born February 8, 1762; February 3, 1820), who had actually already been defeated by Quang Trung and - supported by the foreign power of the French - was finally fought victoriously.

Increasing French influence

The same Nguyễn Phúc Ánh took over as Emperor Gia Long (reign 1802-1820), further supported by the French, namely on military and political advisers and Catholic clergy, the power in Vietnam, relocated the capital away from Hanoi in the south and made the City of Huế in Central Vietnam, the capital of Vietnam. Gia Long tried to reverse the reforms of Quang Trung in the sense of a comprehensive restoration of the traditional tax system and bureaucratic structures. He managed to make Cambodia and Siam (Thailand) pay tribute. At the same time, the French, tolerated or tolerated by the Nguyen, gradually took control of parts of the country and proselytized.

Emperor Gia Long was followed in 1820 by his younger son Minh Mạng , who ruled from Huế as emperor until 1841 and left an extraordinarily noteworthy tomb in a landscaped park on the outskirts of the city. He strictly followed the teachings of Chinese Confucianism, fought unsuccessfully against the increase in Western influence, including and especially Catholicism, which was widespread by French missionaries, and tried to counter the popular uprisings, especially in Tongking, by strengthening the military. Minh Mang relied on the use of elephants, which were procured in Laos and Cambodia - relatively poorly informed about foreign countries and the then modern western weapon technology. He refused to conclude trade and other contracts with the growing French.

His son and successor Thiệu Trị (1841–1847) followed the Confucian pattern of Minh Mang. He tried to isolate himself from the West and was faced with a growing number of uprisings, lively missionary activity and increasing aggression from the French side, which was the strategically important port of Da Nang, then Tourane , only 100 kilometers away from the imperial city of Huế in the north, brought under their control. Eventually one of his sons, Tu Duc (1848-1883), became the last emperor of an independent Vietnam. During his reign the problems only increased in severity, without ever finding a solution to the internal resistance, the popular uprisings that flared up even in Huế, nor the aggressions from the French side, which from 1859 occupied the south of Vietnam, including the bordering Laos and Cambodia , could have found.

France controlled Vietnam from 1874 - until the crushing military defeat in Dien Bien Phu , a city in the far northwest of Vietnam, in 1954 - with the interruption of the brief Japanese interlude during World War II and an attempt by China in 1883 to take control of Vietnam take over - Vietnam and, under the name Indochina, also Laos and Cambodia.

In a long, almost thirty-year phase of so-called "pacification" with military deployments, particularly in Tonking and Annam , efforts were made by the French Governor General Paul Doumer, among others , to give Vietnam a network of infrastructural and administrative measures at the turn of the 20th century modernize. Dams, bridges, railroad lines and roads were built and taxes were levied. Hanoi became the capital, where bridges, an opera house and a modern administrative center were built around the turn of the century, all measures that were also suitable for increasing the economic benefits that could be drawn from the colony of Indochina. With the exception of a brief bloom around 1908, intellectual life in Vietnam was dominated by the interests of the colonial power, which did little to promote popular and academic education in Vietnam.

Communist struggle

After thirty years of exile and travels around the world, Ho Chi Minh returned to Vietnam in 1941. As leader of the communist party Viet Minh, he successfully fought the colonial power of France. In 1945 he came to terms with the Japanese withdrawing from Vietnam, who handed him their weapons. In August 1945, the Viet Minh initiated a victorious revolution, which led to the last Nguyen emperor Bảo Đại , who was formally still in office by the grace of France , abdicate on August 25, 1945.

On September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam's independence and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam proclaimed. The French, who were returning to power with the help of British and American support - partly with the support of Chiang Kai Shek and his national Chinese troops that had moved from Yünnan to Vietnam - did not recognize the republic. Heavy military fighting broke out, which in 1954 - with material support from Russia and China - led to the victory of the Viet Minh under Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen Giap .

In the subsequent peace negotiations in Geneva, Vietnam was separated along a so-called demilitarized zone at the 17th parallel , the south and north of Vietnam were divided into two independent states. In the most severe military conflicts between the two states, in which Cambodia and Laos were also involved and in which the United States sided with South Vietnam with its enormous military power, Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap finally succeeded with worldwide ideal support, on April 30, 1975 to unite both states as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

The war economy with all its upheavals and peculiarities was ended in the mid-eighties as Doi-Moi "renewal", and since the mid-nineties Vietnam has been on a successful path of independent economic and cultural development within the ASEAN community.

Role as capital

Under the Nguyễn dynasty from 1802 to 1945, Huế was the capital and seat of government of Vietnam . The border between North and South Vietnam, newly created in 1954, ran north of the city. This so-called demilitarized zone (Demilitarized Zone DMZ ) experienced the heaviest fighting during the Vietnam War .

Kulturkampf during the South Vietnamese status

Huế was one of the centers of Buddhist monasticism in Buddhist South Vietnam and the seat of a Catholic archdiocese . When South Vietnam's Catholic dictator Ngô Đình Diệm wanted to limit the raising of the colorful Buddhist flags in the traditional processions on May 8, 1963 for Buddha's birthday - comparable to the Catholic Corpus Christi processions - to the red and yellow striped national flag, protests broke out in Huế ended in deaths. The next day's protests, which were fought with tear gas by the police, also ended catastrophically because the tear gas cartridges from former French colonial stocks had meanwhile turned to acid and the protesters were corroded. Provocative remarks by Ngô, his adviser brother Ngô Đình Nhu and his wife, as well as the systematic religious discrimination that went hand in hand with the prohibition of divorce, contraception , dancing, beauty competitions, gambling, fortune telling, cockfighting and prostitution, charged the situation for some time .

On June 10, 1963, the Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức burned himself to death in a square in central Saigon in protest in front of the cameras. Madame Ngô and her husband made cynical comments in front of the world press, which further fueled the protests. Within a week there were three more self-immolations in different places, including Huế . Heavy clashes broke out in Huế when a heavily armed military with a bayonet attached wanted to secure the charred corpse of the fifth monk who had burned himself. When Ngô Đình Nhu now led a "counter-attack" against the Buddhists, heavily armed groups of his private militia , his secret service and other armed men in Saigon and Huế were sent to the pagoda with the aim of capturing as many Buddhists as possible to close the pagoda. Thirty Buddhist monks were murdered under the eyes of the American consul and the giant statue of the Buddha, known throughout Asia, was destroyed. Buddhists fled to the American Consul's residence and the US Agency for International Development , which was in the same neighborhood as the pagoda. On September 2, 1963, US President John F. Kennedy gave an interview in which he called for changes in policy and "in the personnel area", which he de facto suggested to President Ngô to resign.

North Vietnamese Tet Offensive 1968

From January 3 to March 3, 1968, during the Tet Offensive , Huế was the scene of bitter house and street fighting between North Vietnamese units on the one hand and South Vietnamese troops and US military units on the other ( Battle for Huế ). In the course of the fighting, the city, bridges and valuable cultural assets - including most of the buildings of the Imperial Palace and the so-called Forbidden City - were destroyed. Tens of thousands of civilians were made homeless, around 5,000 North Vietnamese, 452 South Vietnamese and 216 American soldiers were killed in the fighting.

Huế massacre

After the withdrawal of the North Vietnamese troops, the bodies of around 2,800 civilians were found. The background to the executions is still unclear. Among them, but in a separate grave, were the bodies of four Germans who, under the direction of Horst-Günther Krainick, had been building the university's medical faculty in Hué as a participant in an educational aid program of the German federal government since 1961. The doctors and university teachers were kidnapped in early February.

Great personalities

  • Hồ Chí Minh (1890–1969), revolutionary, politician, Prime Minister (1945–1955) and President (1945–1969) of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, lived in Huế for a few years around 1906 as an adolescent
  • Võ Nguyên Giáp (1911–2013), strategist, freedom fighter, military commander-in-chief of North Vietnam, attended the Lyceum in Huế from 1926
  • Thích Quảng Đức (1897–1963), first Buddhist monk to burn himself to death in Saigon in protest against the suppression of Buddhism by President Diem
  • Pierre Martin Ngô Đình Thục (1897–1984), first - later excommunicated - Archbishop of Huế, older brother of the following
  • Ngô Đình Diệm (1901–1963), first - later murdered - President of South Vietnam
  • Bảo Đại (1913–1997), last - in France deceased - emperor from the Nguyen dynasty, which ruled North and South Vietnam from 1803 to August 1945, but was increasingly instrumentalized by the colonial power from the middle of the 19th century (“Marionettes -Regime")
  • Thich Nhat Hanh (* 1926) monk and Zen master, scholar and poet. With his tireless commitment to human rights and peace, he is next to the Dalai Lama the best known and most revered Buddhist of the twenty-first century.
  • Phạm Lực (* 1943) is an important contemporary painter from Vietnam.

Town twinning



  • Ann Helen Unger, Walter Unger: Hué. The imperial city in Vietnam. Hirmer, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-7774-6630-1 .
  • Georg W. Alsheimer (that is: Erich Wulff ): Vietnamese apprenticeship years. Six years as a German doctor in Vietnam 1961–1967. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1968 (several editions).

Web links

Commons : Huế  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  2. Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy website, accessed March 29, 2018
  3. a b Simon Reuter: The Vietnam Mission of the Medical Faculty Freiburg (1961–1968) - Freiburg (Breisgau), Univ., Diss., 2011
  4. Nicolaus Schmidt , Viet Duc - German-Vietnamese Biographies as a Mirror of History, Bielefeld 2017, p. 93f.
  5. ^ Nicolaus Schmidt , Viet Duc - German-Vietnamese biographies as a mirror of history, Bielefeld 2017, p. 97
  6. 112. Telegram From the Consulate at Hue to the Department of State, Hue, May 9, 1963, 3 pm , Archive FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, 1961–1963, VOLUME III, VIETNAM, JANUARY – AUGUST 1963
  7. ^ D. Gareth Porter: The 1968 'Hue Massacre'. (PDF; 2.7 MB) Indochina Chronicle No. 33, June 24, 1974, pp. 2–13 , accessed August 7, 2019 (English).