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[Photos] Striking Black-and-White Images of Hue's Imperial City in 1896

Just two weeks ago, we published some monochrome photos of Hue taken earlier this year. Yet in this series, we can browse another black-and-white selection of images from the city, this time from around 1986. 

Few photographic records exist of Vietnam – or anywhere, for that matter – before the 20th century. Still, Flickr user and master of vintage Vietnamese photos manhhai managed to dig up a series of 13 photos of Hue taken by a French military cartographer living in Indochina at the time. 

Dated from 1896 to 1900, these black-and-white images capture the striking, turn-of-the-20th-century imperial capital during an era when the lines between French colonialism and imperial rule were blurred.

From the interior of Thai Hoa Palace to the grounds of Emperor Tu Duc's final resting place, Vietnamese royal guards share the same space as French colonists. Elephants roam the Imperial Citadel and, throughout the entire series of photographs, the same iconic structures that draw thousands of tourists to Hue today serve as the backdrop for this bygone era.

The royal pavilion, located in the gardens at the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc.

The Privy Council meeting house and front screen.

The meeting house of the Privy Council, a group of high-level mandarins who served as advisers to the emperor.

The imperial throne inside Thai Hoa Palace.

The imperial throne inside Thai Hoa Palace.

The salutation court and entrance to Thai Hoa Palace inside the Imperial Citadel.

The stele at the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc.

Guards direct a royal elephant in the Imperial Citadel.

A royal elephant in the Imperial Citadel.

Guards stand before the stele at the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc.

French colonists stand in the courtyard at the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc.

A French delegation leaves Thai Hoa Palace after a meeting with the emperor.

The cannons of Emperor Thanh Thai.


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