National School, Hue - review by Rusty Compass
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National School, Hue

| 17 Nov 2011
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National School, Hue
Le Loi St, Hue, Vietnam
Open for visits after 5PM
Free

Map
Our rating
17 Nov 2011

A great stop to include in an afternoon walk along the Perfume River. The National School is probably Vietnam's most historic school and it's a wonderful French era complex of buildings and grounds that retain all of their old world charm.

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Hue,Vietnam,National School Hue
Photo: Mark Bowyer, Mark BowyerNational School, Hue
Hue’s National School is a stately French era institution whose alumni includes many of the big figures in Vietnam’s twentieth century history from both sides of the political divide. It continues to be one of the country’s most prestigious educational institutions.

Known to the Vietnamese as Truong Quoc Hoc, the school was established by Ngo Dinh Kha, the father of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in the 1890s. The leading members  of the controversial Ngo family that, under Presdident Ngo Dinh Diem, ruled the South from mid 1955 until their rule  came to a bloody end in 1963, all attended the school. So did the leader of Vietnam’s communist revolution, Ho Chi Minh, his triumphant general, Vo Nguyen Giap and one of the country’s longest serving prime ministers, Pham Van Dong.

It is one of the exquisite ironies of Vietnamese history that this school, founded by an ardently Catholic and anti Communist family should train the Communist elite that ultimately crushed the Southern regime and united the country.

Hue,Vietnam,National School Hue
Photo: Mark BowyerNational School, Hue
The National School is closed to visitors until classes are out at 5PM. Its distinct crimson buildings, lovely grounds, riverside setting and profound historical significance make it a great stop.

Travel Tips -

The National School is straight up Le Loi St along the riverfront around 1km from the city centre. It’s a nice walk or an easy cycle and there are plenty of nice buildings and monuments nearby. The totally neglected monument to Vietnam’s WWI veterans right across the road is especially interesting.
Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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