While imperial rule ended almost six decades ago, the charming central city of Hue still bears the marks of its royal past. From 1802 to 1945, Hue was home to 13 Nguyen emperors, whose palaces and tombs provide fascinating glimpses into the luxurious and secretive world of the royal court. The Imperial City was built in 1804 by Emperor Gia Long, for his household's exclusive use, much like Beijing's Forbidden City. However unlike Beijing, Hue's Forbidden City bares battle scars from fighting the French and the Americans. The imperial tombs are scattered around the outskirts of Hue and are well worth exploring, observing the differences between the early wooden, Asian examples and the 20th century European influenced styles.