Ornate gateway on the Trung Dao (Central path) Bridge, carved with dragons slithering up and down them, leading to Thai Hoa Palace, Hue Citadel / Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam

Yellow enamelled roof tiles of the Thai Hoa Palace, Hue Citadel / Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam

Vietnamese money left as an offering in the ancient bronze cauldron in the courtyard, Halls of the Mandarins

The Throne Palace, also known as the Palace of Supreme Harmony, was the nerve center for the Emperor’s court during its heyday. Built in 1805 by Emperor Gia Long, the Throne Palace was first used in 1806 for the emperor’s coronation. The building is 144 feet long, 100 feet wide, and 38 feet tall, supported by lacquered-red columns entwined with gilded dragons. Over the throne hangs a carved board bearing Chinese characters reading “Palace of Supreme Harmony”.

The insulation and acoustics of the Throne Palace are amazing for a building its age. The Throne Palace enjoyed cool temperatures in the summer, and warm temperatures during the winter season. And anyone standing at the exact center of the Palace – where the throne was normally placed – could hear sounds from any point in the palace. The Throne Palace has been diminished by time and the ravages of war: rains and floods common to Central Vietnam have damaged some parts of the palace, and serious damage was done by American bombs during the Vietnam War.

VIEW MORE IMAGES of Thai Hoa Palace, Imperial City, Hue

VIEW IMAGES of Hue Citadel & Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam

Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010