Bach Dang Street is a long street on the canal side to the north-east of the Imperial Citadel in Hue.
Chua Thuan Hoa gate on Bach Dang Street
Bach Dang Street is full of hidden treasures relating to Hue’s past as Vietnam’s Imperial Capital. There are so many old buildings on this street that very few are even documented or signposted, and there is little written history about the buildings in Bach Dang Street, except for the Dieu De Pagoda.
About Bach Dang Street
If you walk down Bach Dang Street you will notice two things: no tourists and lots old buildings on the street itself and hidden away down narrow side streets where local people live in generally very humble homes amongst some very grand old structures.
View down Bach Dang street
Bach Dang is located away from the tourists area to the south of the Imperial Citadel and there has been very little development which has happened in this part of town since the time when the Nguyen Emperors lived in the Imperial Citadel. The buildings on Bach Dang Street have simply been left untouched, with most left to crumble as they decay naturally through the course of time.
Old wooden shop house on Bach Dang Street
One of the first interesting side streets you come to as you walk northward along Bach Dang Street has an arch at its entrance marked ‘Gia Hung Vuong’. This is a reference to one of the important mandarins employed at the Court, whose was given an illustrious job title which roughly translated means ‘King of Public Affairs’.
Gia Hung Voung on Bach Dang Street
There is another archway before you arrive at the residence itself.
Archway off Bach Dang Street
Bach Dang Street appears, at one time to have been a suburban area where important courtiers lived. They may not have been part of the royal family but they had the money to build some very regal arches similar to the famous gates of the Imperial Citadel, as well as high walls around their own mini-palaces. Whoever lives at this particular stately home now was hanging their washing out front when I visited, no doubt to enhance its appearance.
Home of the Imperial Head of Public Affairs on Bach Dang Street
The next major historical site you come to walking along Bach Dang Street is Dieu De Pagoda. Dieu De Pagoda was built by King Thieu in 1844. The temple once occupied a large area but has been damaged by weather and war, and is now smaller and less grand than in its heyday.
Entrance to Dieu Du Pagoda
During the 1960s Dieu De Pagoda regained some notoriety as the centre of a movement rebelling against the policies of the South Vietnam Government, particularly the suppression of freedom of worship for Buddhist people in South Vietnam.
Dieu De Pagoda on Bach Dang Street
As you walk down the street you will see more grand gateways and largely dilapidated buildings which, although in a state of disrepair, bear the hallmarks of former grandness.
Historic gate on Bach Dang Street
Bach Dang Street is charming and photogenic, particularly as the grand buildings sit on the street front seemingly unnoticed by the local population who live in and around them.
Another ancient gate on Bach Dang Street
One more recent treasure you will find on Bach Dang Street is the basic, and unsignposted ‘bun thit nuong’ shop, with outdoor plastic seating, near the start of Bach Dang Street. This small restaurant is reputedly the best place to eat this Hue delicacy, which consists of roasted meats, peanuts, herbs and numerous other ingredients on top of cold rice noodles. This is a classic dish of South Vietnamese cuisine which originated in Hue.