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16/02/2021 - 08:04

Green Da Vien

The fact shows that eco-parks can still be profitable from tourism without needing a unique landscape or large investments in large-scale entertainment...

Da Vien  island viewed from above

Sacred Island

In the middle of the Huong River just in front of Hue Citadel, there are 2 land dunes that are well-known to many: Da Vien island and Hen island. According to feng-shui, they are the two magical creatures Thanh Long - Bach Ho defending the capital land. Thanh Long (Green Dragon) corresponds to Hen island on the left. Bach Ho (White Tiger) corresponds to Da Vien to the right .

Usually called “dunes”, they resemble two small islands in the heart of Hue city. Hen island is located in Vy Da ward. At nearly 25 hectares wide, it is the long-standing residence of a community of nearly half a thousand people. There are schools, pagodas and churches... Da Vien is smaller with an area of only about ten hectares. Currently, there are only 21 households with a few dozen people.

For a long time, Thua Thien Hue has advocated calling for investment in these two islands, but so far there has not been any significant movement. Hen island is problematic in that there is dense housing and any investment would entail large sums for land clearance and relocation of local people.

As for Da Vien, in 2016, there was an enterprise that made a research report to apply for investing here to build a leading 5-star resort in Vietnam. However, because Da Vien island is associated with the feng-shui elements of Hue Citadel and contains many relics of the Nguyen dynasty, the project almost immediately met with many objections.

In 2020, Da Vien was approved by the Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee to enter the list of projects calling for socialized investment, but did not accept accommodation investment. The call for investment has been approved and announced from the beginning of 2020, but so far no investor has shown interest.

By mid-2020, Hue Parks and Greenery Center has cleared weeds and wild shrubs. Just like that, the dune seemed to light up and was full of attraction.

The royal garden of Emperor Tu Duc

Perhaps it should be added that not many people seem to know that Da Vien island used to be the royal garden of Emperor Tu Duc. The name Da Vien was also given by the Emperor who had a gift with poetry and words.

The memoir "Du Da Vien" by Emperor Tu Duc clearly stated: "I do not know when this dune emerged. The middle of it rises and the edges lower in the four directions, creating a mound. The water is clear and deep; the sand is white and smooth; and the soil is fertile and pure. In the front, there are gardens of people living in scattered places, totaling seven gardens... In addition, scattered on the land, berries, beans, melons are planted…"

After the King ordered the clearance of the households living here, Da Vien island was "re-arranged" by the king, the low areas were raised and the high areas flattened. The trash trees were removed, and the useful trees were planted. With the fertile soil, soon, the tall trees created a dense forest.

In the middle, the King ordered the erection of a building named Quan Phong, from which he would admire the scenery and to be closer to his subjects. The two sides of the building had a corridor leading to the boat station where the king would go fishing. He also ordered for a shooting range to be built for the king him to practice martial arts...

In the royal garden, flowers were not planted, but in their place were berries, jute, melons and rice… The king explained the reason in his journal: “This place is not suitable for flowers. Here, the top layer is mud and underneath is sand. It is only suitable for berries or jute, for sticky or ordinary rice, for vegetables and melons. Any variety can be planted. This way, we can test whether the weather is favorable during the year. If the planting season is not successful, there are also reasons to be deduced”.

During the last 15 years of his life, Da Vien was considered the "close home" of the king, who during his reign was met with many changes. In 1883, after Emperor Tu Duc died, Da Vien lacked care and gradually returned to the same ruins...

Proposal for a mandarin island

With the investment in embellishment, building Da Vien park on the south bank, building a road bridge with gazebos in harmony with the ancient space of the ancient capital, clearing and planting more trees..., the road bridge, the railway bridge and Da Vien island have been linked together to create an impressive green spot in the upstream area of the Huong River. Recently, birds and storks flocked together to feed and live here, increasing the uniqueness and serenity of the rare green island of Hue ancient capital.

Many times on my walking route for my morning exercise, I wandered on the island for a while to breathe in the fresh air, to watch the young shoots reaching out to welcome the sun. I sometimes encounter some local residents or tourists taking advantage of both exercise and exploring the ancient capital.

They praised the island for being beautiful, but unfortunately it was a bit abandoned. As we talked and as they listened to me explaining a little bit about Da Vien, everyone's eyes lit up with excitement.

Once while watching television, I saw a project to build a mandarin island in Hunan (China). The island is also just a floating land dune in the middle of the Xiang River, located in the center of Hunan province. Here, people just grow all kinds of mandarins, oranges, grapefruits in addition to some types of entertainment and historical sites.

 “Although it just has a popular fruit, the mandarin island in Hunan is still one of the unique destinations, attracting tens of thousands of weekend visitors. The fact shows that eco-parks can still be profitable from tourism without needing a unique landscape or large investments in large-scale entertainment...” the TV program confirmed.

Da Vien is also an sand dune with fertile soil conditions. "Du Da Vien" stele, shrine, Quan Phong floor... - traces of Emperor Tu Duc's garden are still there. What’s more, it is located in the heart of the city which houses 5 World Heritage Sites. Why not try Hue's specialty thanh tra pomelo, or vegetables, melon, beans... like when King Tu Duc planted them. They can be planted for beauty, for both economic and artistic reasons.

Simultaneously, there needs to be some cleanup and reorganization. Some investments in light entertainment as SUP rowing; creating a wharf for river swimming and fishing... Some souvenir stalls of quintessence should be added. That would be enough to create an additional destination, a luxury tourism product, in line with ecological trends, with the goal of preserving the heritage and greenery that Hue has been aiming for.

Story: Dien Thong

Photo: Tuan Kiet

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