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Hue: Imperial City Turned Battleground

The citadel of the old imperial city in Hue, site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.
Michael Sullivan, NPR
The citadel of the old imperial city in Hue, site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.

During the 1968 Tet Offensive, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces surprised U.S. and South Vietnamese forces with a major assault. Fighting ravaged the former imperial city of Hue, and presaged the futility of the U.S. military effort in Vietnam. The decades since have brought more change.

The Vietnamese government sees tourism as a major growth industry in a country desperately trying to make up for time and resources lost during the war years.

Nearly 40 years later, the imperial city is being restored slowly. And the palace theater offers tourists daily performances of court music from Vietnam's feudal, pre-communist days.

Several new five-star hotels -- some joint ventures with foreign firms -- are under construction along the Perfume River.


Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: May 12, 2005 at 4:33 PM MDT
North Vietnamese and Viet Cong guerillas caught the American and South Vietnamese forces by surprise in the 1968 Tet Offensive. The report originally said that only Viet Cong guerillas surprised U.S. troops.
Michael Sullivan is NPR's Senior Asia Correspondent. He moved to Hanoi to open NPR's Southeast Asia Bureau in 2003. Before that, he spent six years as NPR's South Asia correspondent based in but seldom seen in New Delhi.