The main gate Ngo Mon, called also the True South or the Meridian Gate. Placed in the middle of the southern wall faces the Perfume River.
It has five entrances. The one in the middle was exclusively reserved for the emperor. Mandarins used the adjacent two and the side entrances served as a passage for soldiers, horses and elephants.
The whole distance between the gate and the riverbank was and still is arranged as the monumental plaza.
During the imperial times this field served as a scene for military parades, religious processions as well as for the gatherings honouring the emperor.
photo taken in March 2012
The emperor himself observed the festivities and official parades sitting on his throne placed among the gilded columns within the wooden section right above the entrances.
Above the emperors lounge was yet another room intended for the ladies of the palace. They climbed there by the wooden stairs flanked by beautifully carved railings.