Past, present and future collide on Hue streets


HUE, Vietnam — As Hue, Vietnam’s former capital, travels through its current period of modernization, it is experiencing a complex interplay of culture, politics and economics in everyday life.  

This photographic essay explores tensions tugging at one another between traditional culture and an emerging market economy, guided by an authoritarian government known as Market-Leninism.

The past, present and struggle for the future collide on the streets of Hue, from local shops featuring busts of Lenin to the transformation of the city’s historic Citadel.  

The Citadel, once home to the Nguyen Dynasty, can be viewed as an example of the city’s continuing transformation. It became the center of heavy fighting in the American-Vietnamese War in 1968, and today represents what many local Vietnamese see as the Westernization of family leisure time, with weekend kite flying, soccer and picnics.