The city of Hue is in central Vietnam, but north of Hai Van Pass. This pass, over a mountainous ridge that extends from the Truong Son range to the sea, has long been a cultural, historical, and linguistic divide between northern and southern Vietnam. It is still a climatic divide. It may be rainy and wet on one side (usually the Hue side), but bright and sunny in Da Nang, just south.
For a while, Hue was the capital of Vietnam. On the north side of the Perfume River, across from most of the city, there is the extensive, magnificent citadel from which the Nguyen Dynasty ruled. Much of it was damaged or destroyed in 1968. The citadel languished for a while, but restoration was started several years ago and continues today. A large chapter in the history of Vietnam is illustrated here.
Outside the city are tombs of Nguyen emporers, one of whom had 80 concubines. Each one had her own house with garden space. The emporer, led by a goat, would visit them. The concubines would plant whichever flowers they thought would attract the goat.
The Perfume River (Song Huong) emerges from the mountains here. It is a large river, though not very long. The surrounding land is often flooded during the October rainy season, which is a major reason for the ongoing construction of the new Ho Chi Minh Highway, inland through the mountains.