Hidden canals #2: Canal du Rhône au Rhin

Here’s why I find canals so fascinating: they were massive, transformational public works projects, still visible today, but whose need and impact to society have all but left our cultural awareness.

And here’s why I find hidden canals so fascinating: out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Dismantling sections of a canal, or covering them over, or filling them in, is the the first step in their disappearance from public knowledge and their relegation to archeology. Ask anyone about a hidden canal, and they will tell you they vaguely remember something but usually can’t quite put their finger on what they remember.

Continuing the series, this is a section of the Canal du Rhône au Rhin in village of Mulhouse, in the eastern part of France:


And here is the bit that is now hidden, covered over by a park and a busstop:


Just to prove a canal is truly hidden here, I simply turn 180-degrees to get this view:


And here is a historical photograph. Next time I get to Mulhouse I’ll have a look if I can find any of these old buildings. But you’ll see immediately from this picture how prominently this canal was incorporated into the landscape architecture : the city was proud the canal ran through it, and the integration (both landscape and cultural) was tight.