Meridian Gate, also known as Ngo Mon Gate, is not only an architectural landmark but also a historical and cultural symbol of Hue City. Despite enduring various historical challenges since its construction in 1833, this site still emanates a sense of solemnity and reverence. If you are planning a visit to Hue, Ngo Mon Gate is a must-see landmark, along with other notable attractions like Thien Mu Pagoda, Trang Tien Bridge, and Dong Ba Market.
1. About Meridian Gate (Ngo Mon Gate) in Hue
Meridian Gate is one of the best places to visit in Hue. Let’s explore what you need to know when visiting this place.
The Ngo Mon Gate is a massive architectural monument situated in the southern part of the Hue Imperial Citadel complex. Additionally, this is one of the largest among the four main gates of the complex.
This relic serves as not only the main entrance and exit of the Royal Palace but also as the place where many notable events happened during the Nguyen Dynasty.
1.2. Opening hours and ticket fee
The Meridian Gate in Hue is open to visitors during two time slots:
- Daytime: 5:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Evening: 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
The admission fee for visiting Ngo Mon Gate is as follows:
- Adults: VND 150,000 per person
- Children: VND 30,000 per person
- Children under 6 years old: Free
Additionally, during the Lunar New Year, Hue Liberation Day, and Vietnam National Day (September 2), admission to Ngo Mon Gate is free for all visitors.
2. Learn about the history of Meridian Gate Hue
Meridian Gate, formerly known as Nam Khuyet Dai, was originally constructed during the reign of Emperor Gia Long as an observation point. It was also the location of the Can Nguyen Palace, with two gates on either side: Ta Doan Mon and Huu Doan Mon.
The construction of Ngo Mon Gate was completed in 1833, the 14th year of Emperor Minh Mang’s era, when the Nguyen Dynasty decided to reorganize the whole architectural ground of the Imperial City. A historic location, this is where Emperor Bao Dai announced his abdication and handed over his sword and seal, which symbolize the power of the dynasty, to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945, marking the end of the feudatory era in Viet Nam.
In 1968, after the Tet Offensive (1968) in Hue, Meridian Gate was severely damaged. It was not until 1970 that this gate and its surrounding areas were restored.
3. Admire the great architecture of Meridian Gate
Meridian Gate in Hue is composed of a ground level with five entrances and an upper level featuring the Five Phoenix Pavilion. Despite the use of different construction materials, the design of these two parts harmonizes to create a unified structure.
3.1. The ground level with five entrances
The ground-level Meridian Gate boasts a magnificent U-shape design, with a base that spans 57.77 meters in length and 27.6 meters in width. Constructed of stone bricks and bearing beams made from brass, the tower stands tall at nearly 5 meters high, encompassing an area of over 1560 square meters (including the inside of the U). The monument features five entrances, the central one being the Ngo Mon Gate, which was exclusively for the Emperors.
Ta Gia Mon and Huu Giap Mon gates are located on either side, intended for feudatory officials. The two outermost paths found in the wings of the U-shape are known as Ta Dich Mon and Huu Dich Mon, which were designed for the passage of soldiers, elephants, and servants.
3.2. The upper level - Five Phoenix Pavilion
The Five Phoenix Pavilion (Lau Ngu Phung) is a U-shaped wooden structure located above the gate. The Five Phoenix Pavilion consists of two stories and two roofs built upon a 1.14-meter-high platform.
One remarkable feature of the Five Phoenix Pavilion is its roof system on the lower level, which extends around the entire Ngo Mon Gate to provide shade and shelter it from sunshine and rain. Meanwhile, the upper roof system is even more intricate, featuring nine sets of roofs with the highest central roof adorned with lapis lazuli tiles.
4. When and how should you get to Meridian Gate Hue?
For those planning a trip to Meridian Gate in Hue, the ideal time to visit is generally from January to April, which is the spring season in the city. During these months, tourists can fully appreciate the rustic and poetic beauty of Hue without having to worry about the erratic rain and heat that can sometimes disrupt travel plans.
One of the highlights when visiting Meridian Gate in the spring is the opportunity to admire the panoramic view of the city from the Ngu Phung Pavilion. With its beguiling and lyrical charm, Hue is truly a sight to behold during this time of year.
Meridian Gate is situated on the north bank of the Perfume River, right in the center of Hue City. To get there, you can choose from different means of transportation such as taxis, cyclos, and buses. Also, riding a motorbike or bicycle is the option chosen by many culture seekers when exploring this mesmerizing relic.
5. Extra tips for your sightseeing tour to Meridian Gate
- When visiting Meridian Gate, it is essential to purchase entrance tickets outside the Imperial City and keep them on hand for checking.
- Be mindful of your attire: As this gate is a significant cultural heritage site, it is essential to dress politely and avoid revealing clothing. Short clothes and bare underarms are not recommended, particularly in worship places and sanctuary areas.
- Filming and taking pictures inside these areas are not allowed; you can only take them outside.
- Do not carry explosive and flammable substances, and smoking is forbidden inside palaces or places of worship.
- If you plan to visit during the Hue Festival, which takes place from April to May, expect the city to be more crowded than usual with many events and cultural activities. Therefore, it is advised to book your hotel room in advance to avoid running out of accommodation.
Hue, a renowned tourist destination in Vietnam, offers a plethora of unparalleled accommodations to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable exploration of its captivating attractions. In addition to the must-see Hue Imperial City tour, make sure to include other notable spots such as Dong Ba Market, Perfume River, Trang Tien Bridge, Thien Mu Pagoda, Dieu De Pagoda, and so on in your sightseeing itinerary.
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For history lovers looking to learn more about Vietnam's last feudal dynasty, the Meridian Gate of the Forbidden City is a must-see attraction. Not only is it of great historical significance, but it also exudes an ancient and solemn beauty, making it a perfect spot for captivating and Instagram-worthy photos. During your vacation in Hue, make sure to add this imposing tourist attraction to your itinerary. Do not miss out on the chance to experience the rich cultural history of Vietnam and capture some unforgettable memories at the same time.
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