Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Saigon Canal Walk - Planning

As the Terminalia festival approaches once again I began to consider another walk in Saigon. On 23rd February each year a one day festival of Psychogeography is held across the UK and the world, entitled 'Terminalia'.

As the festival website states, it is 'a one day festival of walking, space, place and psychogeography' named after 'Terminalia...the festival of TerminusRoman god of boundaries'. 

Many events are group walks and encourage participation but there are also 'private, solitary walks' that are also listed on the main festival website.

I had again been reading about the history of the city and I was interested to learn about the canals that were once a feature of the city. Most of them have long since disappeared, some of them were filled in and became streets or boulevards such as Nguyen Hue 'Walking Street' in District 1.

Thinking back to last year's walk I decided to target the period during which the large old citadel had been constructed and so I concentrated my planning on the canals that were originally built to provide water access to the citadel's main South Gate. 

During the 1790s two canals were dug from the Saigon river up to the walls of the citadel. One was along the course of what became Nguyen Hue (known to the French as the Grand Canal) and a second one further up the Saigon River. After consulting the maps I assembled when I was planning the Citadel walk, I estimated that this canal would have been somewhere in the area of Thái Văn Lung. However, as this street appeared to have been blocked off mid-way along I decided to adopt the nearby Thi Sách as the road to follow.

Once again, in the time I had available to plan the walk I managed to locate the area to be circumnavigated. 
To commemorate this year's Terminalia festival, I will begin on Le Than Ton (which marked the old citadel wall), progress South East along Nguyen Hue, turn left along Ton Due Thang and then left again along the North Eastern side of Thi Sách. When I again reached Le Than Ton, I would then return to my starting point near to the People's Committee hall.