Emperor's Reading Room


The exquisite (though crumbling) little two-storey Emperor’s Reading Room was the only part of the Purple Forbidden City to escape damage during the French reoccupation of Hue in 1947. The Gaudí-esque, yin-yang roof mosaics outside are in stark contrast to the sombre, renovated interior, the circular hallway of which you can walk around on the small ground level. The exterior features poems by Emperor Khai Dinh on either side; the three chu nho characters above the main portico translate as 'Building of Great Peace'.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Hue attractions

1. Royal Theatre

0.05 MILES

The Royal Theatre, begun in 1826 and later home to the National Conservatory of Music, has been rebuilt on its former foundations. When performances aren…

2. Purple Forbidden City

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In the very centre of the Imperial Enclosure, there's almost nothing left of the once-magnificent Purple Forbidden City. This was a citadel-within-a…

3. Halls of the Mandarins

0.09 MILES

Located immediately behind Thai Hoa Palace, on either side of a courtyard, these halls were used by mandarins as offices and to prepare for court…

4. Imperial Enclosure


The Imperial Enclosure or Imperial City is a citadel-within-a-citadel, housing the emperor’s residence, temples and palaces, and the main buildings of…

5. Co Ha Gardens

0.11 MILES

Occupying the northeast corner of the Imperial Enclosure, these delightful gardens were developed by the first four emperors of the Nguyen dynasty but…

7. Thai Hoa Palace

0.14 MILES

This 1803 palace is a spacious hall with an ornate timber roof supported by 80 carved and lacquered columns. It was used for the emperor’s official…