Flickr user Manhhai has an impressive photo collection of Hue built on images taken by US soldiers during the 1960s.
The photos give a better idea of day to day Hue life through the visitors gaze. Scenes of day to day life along the Huong river, the city’s southside as well as from within the citadel.
some of those things are very different from now…
whereas others have changed little.
Most of the pictures were taken before the 1968 Tet offensive. The battles during the Tet offensive were some of Vietnam’s first urban warfare. While most were short lived, the siege of Hue went on for over a month. The battle mutilated Hue, leaving hundreds of buildings destroyed and ultimately changing some aspects of Hue forever. These photos contribute to documenting Hue life before that period.
The war wasn’t the only factor in contributing to change in Vietnam. Economic growth and mass urbanisation that has continued since the late 1980s has very much changed the cityscapes of Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Judging by the familiarity of the photos here, Hue has managed to maintain many of the aesthetics its reputation has been built upon.
The photos also document a Vietnam only 2 decades out of French colonial rule. It was also only twenty years since Hue, once the home of the Nguyen Dynasty, had witnessed the abdication of Vietnam’s last emperor Bao Dai.
Aerial photos of Hue
The collection not only includes scenes of Hue street life but also various aerial shots in and around Hue. One photo shows the now non-existent Tay Loc airstrip within the Citadel. A small runway that was built by the French for Bao Dai and used later by the US air force during the war.
There’s also a shot of Tinh Tam lakes which once served as a leisure area for tired emperors looking for a short reprieve from court life.
There’s also a fantastic aerial shot of Hue city including com hen island.
Manhhai’s collection of Hue photos can be found on flickr here. A dig around on his account of over 10,000 images (here) will bring up a vast array of photos relating to Vietnam reaching back to the French colonial. Enjoy hunting!