Modern Urban Agriculture on Top of Ancient Wall

Hue is home to the famous Imperial Citadel of the Nguyen dynasty. As I mentioned before, I have not yet visited the Citadal, but it is a popular draw for tourism here. However, yesterday, with a friend I did visit the “outside wall” of the citadal for an unexpected sight- urban agriculture.

Rows of crops on top of the outer wall (it is about 100 feet across, now covered in soil)

And the opposite view

The inner wall protects the tombs and temples of the citadel, and while the outer wall was originally built next to the river for protection, today it is just another feature of the landscape, surrounded by residential houses.

Over the years, soil has been deposited on top of the wall, making plant life flourish there. Since you cannot live on top of the ancient wall, some local people have put the space to better use- growing rows of herbs, onions, fruits, and greens on top of the structure. Though the bordering trees and raised side make it difficult to visualize, the wall is about 100 feet in width, and about 20 feet tall. These pictures were taken standing on top of the wall.

Rows of green onions

Papaya tree

I do not think that this is exactly legal, but the local government doesn’t seem to disapprove. This garden is invisible from the street, requiring a short climb up a ladder to get on top of the wall. It reminds me of other urban agriculture in the United States- retaking land that is lying fallow and putting it to better use. Farmers are inventive people, all over the world.

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