Over a century ago, the Stone Dam was built in response to the urgent demands of water control. It was to prevent the invasion of saline water to the rivers of Huong and Nhu Y from affecting agriculture of the localities of Huong Thuy and Phu Vang.
A view across Stone Dam
The Stone Dam is a bridge and a passage. It has been the only pathway spanning Nhu Y river for almost a century and connecting the city center to the area of Vy Da and others of Phu Vang district.
It is said that the floodplain next to the Stone Dam used to be the cheerful childhood playground of many generations of Hue people, especially those from Vy Da and the southern Huong bank.
The Stone Dam floodplain is also a wharf, named Tho Loc after a village, spanning Dong Ba and Hen islet. After the Thao Long Dam was built in the downstream area of the Huong River, the Stone Dam has no longer been a spillway, but a bridge-like passage bordering Huong River and Nhu Y river.
The space of the Stone Dam is splendidly contrasting between the Huong River and Nhu Y river, between modern Le Loi street in the western side and under-urbanization Nguyen Sinh Cung street in the eastern side still remaining the scenes of far-off villages.
Except when being isolated and unprotected in the vast water of the flood season, the Stone Dam is often crowded with people rocking to and fro, especially at sun set.
While the Stone Dam disappears in the fierce flood in rainy season, it is clear and gorgeous in summer. The Stone Dam can be seen from many angles. Most interestingly, the view from a high floor of Huong Giang Hotel towards Vy Da village will create an impressive feeling that is hard to put into words.
Seen from Tho Loc, the Stone Dam is a connecting arm with Hen islet nearby and with Dong Ba-Gia Hoi in the distance. From Han Mac Tu Street to look up northwest, there is Truong Tien Bridge and the hills in the foggy sight of sunset.
I sometimes go with friends to Song Xanh café (‘Green River’) in an alley in Nguyen Cong Tru Street. It is located by Nhu Y river. In summer, clients can sit in the open air on the river bank. It is a cool and relaxing to feel the breeze from the river.
In winter, clients sit in the coziness of the elegant French-style house with intricate decoration. The café is also an ideal place to behold the Stone Dam in its pace of life at different times during the day and in different seasons.
It rains heavily today in Hue. I sat at Song Xanh café sipping the coffee and saw the Stone Dam in the rain with very few people crossing. I happen to remember a familiar question “Has the Stone Dam been overflown?”
It is a nostalgia of the rainy days, flooding season and a bitter winter, the sign of which was the overflow of the Stone Dam. And I think there used to be a person sitting at Song Xanh café to witness the overflow and the separation of the two parts of the city.
Story: Dan Duy - Photo: Huu Phuc