In Google Map or Wikimapia, An Cuu River looks like a small canal flowing gently to the south of the former imperial capital of Hue. In comparison with the magnificent former royal citadel by the Huong River, An Cuu is seen by tourists as a humble stream along the two shady Phan Dinh Phung and Phan Chu Trinh streets. However, to Hue residents, An Cuu reminds them of sweet memories and a peaceful image of the sunset over Ben Ngu (royal berth).
Ben Ngu was built in 1836 during King Minh Mang’s reign (1820-1840) and it was dedicated to royal boats heading to Nam Giao ritual, when the king prayed for a peaceful and prosperous country. The king usually ordered his boats and retinue to stop at this section of the river before sailing on to the royal place called Thuy Phu.
The vestiges of Ben Ngu have faded over time, but locals still remember Phan Boi Chau, a revolutionary leader in the early twentieth century and his close friend Uncle Ho, who often went fishing at the berth.
In late July, 2008, people discovered two old rock slabs which are 30 centimeters thick and about 1.5 meters to 2.4 meters long in the area. They are considered relics of the wharf under the Nguyen Dynasty.
Today, Ben Ngu is believed to be a place that holds many old cultural and historical values.
(Sai Gon Times)