The Ngo Mon Gate is a massive structure in front of the Hue Citadel that also served as a royal viewing platform for court ceremonies. Two of the five entrances that cut through the thick stone ramparts serve as entry and exit points for tourists. The largest, middle gate is barred – reserved for the Emperor’s use. The two entrances flanking the Emperor’s gate were reserved for mandarins and court officials, while the outermost entrances were reserved for soldiers and war materiel.
The “Belvedere of the Five Phoenixes”, the Emperor’s private viewing platform on top of the gate, hosted the emperor and his retinue during important court ceremonies. No women were allowed at this level; from this high vantage point, the Emperor and his mandarins observed military exercises and awarded examination passers.
The platform has also seen its fair share of modern history. It was here that the last Emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai, abdicated in favor of the revolutionary government headed by Ho Chi Minh, on August 30, 1945.
Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010