Culture Culture

30/04/2022 - 09:16

Strolling at Da Vien Dune

Despite only an eastern part renewed, the appearance of Da Vien Dune has brightened up a lot...

Bui Thi Xuan Street seen from Da Vien Dune

Last Saturday, in free time, to derive new inspiration for the morning exercise "show", my wife and I decided to go for a stroll from Thuy Xuan Village to Da Vien Dune.

I thought this park was formed not long ago, lying amid the river; therefore, not many people probably knew to reach it. Getting there, I found myself backward. Bustlingly and joyfully, men and women, elegant boys and girls were walking and cycling…

Da Vien, a small dune in the middle of the Perfume River, is located on the right edge of the Imperial City. Everyone knows Da Vien Dune, but not everyone realizes that this small dune was once the Imperial Garden of King Tu Duc. The name Da Vien was given by the famous king who was good at poetry.

After dispatching and being selected and submitted by the mandarin, the king "rearranged" the dune, removed miscellaneous plants, and planted useful trees. Right in the middle, he got Quan Phong floor erected in order to admire the scenery and express the desire to listen to the people.

On both sides of the floor is the corridor leading to the wharf for fishing boats; the shooting gallery for the king to practice kung fu… was established. Da Vien was known as the "very close house" of King Tu Duc in the last 15 years of his life.

"Dữ Dã Viên” stone stele erected under the Tu Duc Dynasty exists on Da Vien Dune

In 1883, after King Tu Duc went to heaven, Da Vien, without care, gradually became derelict... In 1908, the French built a railway bridge across Da Vien Dune. Then, in 1953, to the west of the railway bridge, a water plant was built with a 40m high water tower having a capacity of 1,500 cubic meters.

Nearly 60 years later, in 2012, one more Da Vien road bridge 542.5m long, 24.5m wide with four lanes and two sidewalks for pedestrians was inaugurated and put into operation. Those are the main works at or across the dunes. In addition to about a dozen households in the water plant dormitory living in the upstream tip, there has not been yet any additional work on this 56,053m2 dune.

At the 2004 Tree Planting Festival, Hue Greenery Park Center planted about three thousand trees of all varieties: Lagerstroemia speciosa, cassia javanica l, erythrophleum, santal, swietenia macrophylla, cassia grandis, casuarina equisetifolia j.r et g. forst and one some other rare plant varieties. Good soil, fast-growing trees add green to Da Vien Dune, attracting birds to search for food and live, creating an amazing beauty for a corner of Hue City.

The prime location and superb view of Da Vien have captured the attention of tourism businesses. There has been a resort project petitioned to be implemented. However, on account of this sacred land related to the feng shui elements of Hue Imperial Citadel, the project has not won the support of the people as well as the researchers. The authorities wished to listen and ultimately refused the project implementation.

However, it is a regretful waste to let such a prime land to lie fallow. Something should be done for the landscape, for the development of Hue. It is the request and desire for a lot of people.

The emergence of storks and arrival of some birds to live and forage for food have created an enjoyable peace at Da Vien and a corner of Hue City.

Finally, in early 2021, Hue City decided to invest in renewing Da Vien Dune. This move was in the detailed planning project of the both banks of the Perfume River approved by the Provincial People's Committee. The work was assigned to Hue Greenery Park Center.

The unit carried out leveling, made walking and cycling paths, created lawns, flower beds, woods, square, water, lighting, installed the wooden bridge leading from Da Vien road bridge to the dune…The work was urgently carried out with the eager attention of the people.

A while before the Lunar New Year of Tiger, the renewal was finalized as planned. And even though only the eastern part was renewed, Da Vien Dune appearance has completely brightened up, which creates a highlight on the Perfume River that the officials and people of Hue expect.

Da Vien Dune after renewal becomes a popular sport and sightseeing spot

Temples existent on Da Vien Dune are frequented for worship

The railway bridge and road bridge run parallel across Da Vien Dune

Since the work was put to use, it has been almost never without human footsteps, especially at dawn or sunset. People invite each other to do sport, practice yoga, sit in meditation, check-in... Some people even bring tea and coffee so that after practice, they can stay to sip and chat. The scenery is indescribably beautiful and peaceful.

Passing a group of youth stopping by a stone bench, interestingly enough, I heard a young guy comment, "This place deserves to sell tickets for people to have fun and take photos."

Perhaps for great love for it, he said so. In fact, aside from the scenery, flowers, and grass, there is no service here to attract tourists if the ticket sale is organized. However, that comment also partly confirms Da Vien's position in the public's heart, and maybe it also suggests a development direction for Da Vien in the long run.

The renewal in the eastern dune is known to be only at the initial stage. At the next stage, the province will study to build an Imperial Garden under the Nguyen Dynasty in the west of Da Vien Dune. The finalized project will connect with the pedestrian route along the Perfume River, which continues to be developed as far as Huyen Tran Cong Chua Street, promising to create a unique and impressive cultural-historical landscape space for Hue, which is rarely found anywhere.

The 40m - high water tower with 1,500 m3 capacity was built in 1953

Dozens of Hue royal apricot trees selected to be planted on Da Vien Dune are the idea that greatly excites the many

Writing here, I suddenly recalled Tangerine Island in Hunan (China), upon which we touched in an article on Thua Thien Hue Newspaper not long ago.

Tangerine Island is just a floating dune amid the Tuong River in the center of Hunan Province. Here, only varieties of tangerines, oranges, grapefruits are grown besides a few types of light entertainment associated with historical sites. That’s all, but this destination draws tens of thousands of visitors on weekends.

Da Vien is also a floating dune; the remnants of the works and the stone stele in Imperial Garden of King Tu Duc remain, even in the heart of the Ancient Capital city - the concurrent convergence of 5 World Heritage Sites. The landscape has been being renewed; the Imperial Garden will be built up and re-established towards researching and investing in some suitable light leisure activities such as sailing SUP, creating a wharf for river bathing, fishing...

There is no doubt that Con Da Vien will also become a unique, luxurious destination and conform to the goal of preserving heritage and green for which Hue has been aiming. That belief suddenly exists very closer to me than ever…

Story and photos: DIEN THONG