Inside the walls of the Forbidden Purple City – Hue

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Inside the Imperial City, Hue. Home of the Tet Offensive which saw some of the bloodiest battles during the Vietnam war. The place shares a beauty and a bleakness. Bullet hole souvenirs pepper the entrance walls once patrolled by the Nguyen Emperors.


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The Citadel was home for the Emperors political affairs, daily activities of the court and the family of the Nguyen Emperors. And their concubines. It’s also home to the Forbidden Purple 25 acre city where no man except the Emperor, his queen and his hoards of concubines (nine separate ranks) were permitted to set foot. Anyone that did would be decapitated. It once contained 60 buildings, many of which were extensively damaged during the Tet Offensive.


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I said to the missus on the way out, “I know why they call it the Purple City.”

“Why?” She entertained.

“Because that was the colour of the Emperor’s cock on a daily basis.” She remained unmoved. Viz humour. Jesus 9 ranks of concubines. As well as having your wive, and the Mother-in-Law all snooping around. The Nguyen’s were shaggers. When they weren’t in court enforcing decapitation laws, they were going door to door, ‘Knock knock, are you home Concubine number 3?’

‘It’s Sharon.’

‘Sharon, Sheila Shelly, whatever. What are you doing with your clothes on woman?’


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On the way out we saw the tennis court of the last Emperor. He was raised in France and when he became Emperor he brought with him some western practices, one of them was tennis. When the dynasty fell he had the option to stay and fight, but he packed up his rackets and concubines and buggered off back to France. Smart man.


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