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隐藏在脚下的历史 探秘北爱尔兰地下河

更新时间:2018-6-21 21:35:14 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Northern Ireland's secret underground river
隐藏在脚下的历史 探秘北爱尔兰地下河

Tens of thousands of people pass by downtown Belfast’s Victorian turrets, buzzing quaysides and cobbled Cathedral Quarter streets every day – but few people realise that there’s a secret hiding just below their feet.

成千上万的人们穿梭于贝尔法斯特(Belfast)市中心维多利亚时代的塔楼,熙熙攘攘的码头和大教堂区(Cathedral Quarter)铺着鹅卵石的街道,日复一日,年复一年。但鲜为人知的是,有一个秘密就藏在他们的脚下。

Buried just 60cm beneath the city’s modern surface, the long-lost River Farset that gave Belfast its name still flows silently through the heart of Northern Ireland’s capital. In fact, Belfast, or Béal Feirste (‘the sandy ford at the mouth of the Farset’, in Irish) not only owes its existence to this river, but also its growth and early prosperity. Yet, for the last 170 years, this ancient waterway has been sealed off from the outside world by a series of tunnels, and is largely forgotten by those walking just above it.

在这座现代化城市的地下仅仅60厘米深的地方,法斯特河(Farset River)长期隐没在人们的视野中,贝尔法斯特因它而得名,这条河如今依然悄无声息地流过北爱尔兰首府的心脏地带。“贝尔法斯特”来自爱尔兰语“Béal Feirste”,意为“法斯特河口的含沙浅滩”。贝尔法斯特的诞生要归功于这条河,这座城市的发展以及早期的繁荣也和这条河密不可分。然而170年间建造的一条条地道使得这条古老的水道与世隔绝,行走于河流上的人们大多已经将它遗忘。

“If you stopped anyone in downtown Belfast to ask, they wouldn’t have a clue that there’s a river running through the centre of High Street where boats once sailed up and down,” said Des O’Reilly, author of the book Rivers of Belfast: A History and a professor of early Irish history for more than 40 years. “But the Farset is how everything started, and if you look closely at Belfast today, you can see how it’s always shaped the town.”

奥赖利(Des O'Reilly)教授花了40多年研究爱尔兰早期历史,着有《贝尔法斯特的河流:岁月悠悠》(Rivers of Belfast: A History)一书。他说,“如果你在贝尔法斯特市中心拦住任何一个人问,他肯定不知道有一条河流经过高街(High Street)中心,尽管这里曾经船来船往。不过没有法斯特河就没有这一切,今天如果你仔细打量贝尔法斯特,就会发现这条河流一直以来如何影响着这座城镇”。

According to O’Reilly, Belfast was founded at a natural crossing point where the little-known Farset flowed into Belfast’s centrepiece, the River Lagan. This formed a narrow sandbar at what is now the corner of High Street and Victoria Street. Today, this is the site of the iconic St George’s Church, but the modern building stands on an ancient chapel, where, more than 800 years ago, pilgrims waiting to ford the mud flats at low tide would pray for a safe river crossing.

奥赖利说,贝尔法斯特建造于一个天然的河流交汇处,鲜为人知的法斯特河正是在这里汇入贝尔法斯特最重要的河流拉甘河(Lagan River),进而形成一片狭小的沙洲,这片沙洲位于现在的高街和维多利亚街(Victoria Street)的街角。如今这里屹立着地标性建筑圣乔治教堂(St George's Church),这座现代建筑所在之处曾经是一座古老的小教堂,800多年前朝圣者们在这里等待退潮后涉渡淤泥滩,他们常常祈祷能够平安渡河。

Protestant settlers from Scotland and England began arriving in the 1600s, and the banks of the Farset soon developed into the first quaysides of the burgeoning merchant town, with docks, piers and ships rather than shops lining what is now High Street. In the late 1700s, it was one of several Belfast rivers – along with the Blackstaff – that provided power for the textile mills, distilleries and factories that fuelled the Industrial Revolution. By the end of the 1800s, the Farset had helped propel Belfast into the world’s leading linen manufacturer, and some 50,000 people worked in the mills along its banks in west Belfast.

来自苏格兰和英格兰的新教移民于17世纪开始抵达这里,法斯特河沿岸逐渐发展成为这个新兴商业城镇的第一批码头区,有船坞、码头和船只,而现在这里是店铺林立的高街。18世纪晚期在贝尔法斯特的众多河流当中,法斯特河和布莱克斯塔夫河(Blackstaff)一道为纺织厂、酿酒厂和工厂的发展提供动力,并推动了工业革命。到19世纪末,法斯特河已经助力将贝尔法斯特打造成为全球顶级的亚麻制造中心,这些亚麻厂位于贝尔法斯特西部的法斯特河沿岸,大约五万人在这里工作。

“Back then you probably would have smelled Belfast before you saw it,” said Ruairí Ó Baoill, author of Hidden History Below our Feet: The Archaeological Story of Belfast. “The Farset is symbolic of Belfast and industrialisation. It’s the secret river you can’t see anymore, but that’s because it was an open sewer.”

《隐藏在脚下的历史:贝尔法斯特考古故事》一书的作者奥鲍威尔(Ruairí Ó Baoill)说,“那个时候你来贝尔法斯特的话,可能未见其‘城’而先嗅其‘味’。法斯特河是贝尔法斯特和工业化的象征。你再也看不到这条神秘的河流,那是因为这条河曾经是一条开放的排污水道”。

Families and factories found it a convenient place to dump rubbish, and by the early 1800s, the wafting smell had become so bad that the town’s commissioners were forced to do something. One million bricks and 40 years later, the last section of the Farset that flowed through the city centre was buried underground in 1848, and it has remained hidden from sight ever since.

为了方便,有些家庭和工厂将垃圾倾倒在这条河里,到19世纪初期,河流散发的气味已经非常难闻,镇上的政府要员们被迫采取行动,用百万砖块将河流填起来,40年后,法斯特河流经市中心的最后一段在1848年埋到了地下,从此以后,这条河就从人们的视野中消失了。

These days the invisible river runs parallel to the ‘Peace Lines’ that long separated Protestants and Catholics, threads Castle Street and Bank Street and winds directly under High Street, giving the road its distinctive curve and width. It then flows to the left of the towering Albert Memorial Clock and empties into the Lagan at Donegall Quay.

近来,这条隐匿的河流的流向与“和平墙”(Peace Lines)平行,长期以来,“和平墙”用来隔离新教徒和天主教徒。法斯特河沿着城堡街(Castle Street)和银行街(Bank Street)穿行,并在高街的正下方继续蜿蜒前行。这条河影响了高街,令路面弯度和宽度与众不同。接着这条河从高耸入云的阿伯特纪念钟楼(Albert Memorial Clock)左边流过,最终在多尼格尔码头(Donegall Quay)注入拉甘河。

“Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there,” Ó Baoill said, pointing to a small opening directly below the popular Big Fish sculpture where the Farset still disgorges into the Lagan.

“你看不到它并不代表它不存在”, 奥鲍威尔一边说,一边指着一个小缺口,这个缺口位于颇受欢迎的大鱼(Big Fish)雕塑正下方,法斯特河也会在这里注入拉甘河。

An urban archaeologist, Ó Baoill has made it his mission to help spread awareness of the little river’s major role in Irish history, and he’s not alone. In the last few years, there have been a number of ambitious efforts to reopen stretches of the long-neglected river and transform it into a greenway. More recently, Belfast’s City Council organised a citywide Farset Project to celebrate the invisible river.

奥鲍威尔是一名城市考古学家,致力于帮助人们了解这条小河在爱尔兰历史上发挥的重要作用。这件事情并非只有他一个人在做。过去几年间有很多人都投入了大量精力,让这条长期以来被忽视河流重新开放部分河段,并成为一条绿色水道。最近贝尔法斯特市议会在全市范围内开展了法斯特河计划(Farset Project)来颂扬这条隐匿的河流。

As I followed Ó Baoill from the quay into the heart of Belfast, it became apparent just how much the underground river’s influence still echoes above the city’s surface.

我跟着奥鲍威尔从码头来到贝尔法斯特市中心,一路上我明显感觉到这条地下河仍然在持续深远地影响着这座城市的风貌。

“This is the ‘Leaning Tower of Belfast’,” Ó Baoill said, pointing up to the sandstone Albert Memorial Clock, one of the city’s most recognised landmarks, which soars at a 1.25m slant. “We’re walking directly on top of the Farset on muddy, reclaimed land, which causes heavy buildings to tilt.”

“这是‘贝尔法斯特斜塔’”,奥鲍威尔说着,用手指向用砂岩建成的阿伯特纪念钟楼,这座钟楼是这座城市最为人称道的地标之一,高耸入云的钟楼比垂直线倾斜1.25米。“我们现在脚下所踩的就是法斯特河上堆填而来的土地,土地多泥,因而重型建筑物会有倾斜”。

Arriving at the corner of Victoria and High Streets, where the Farset once emptied into the Lagan, Ó Baoill explained that there was once a quay here where larger ships would have unloaded things like wine, spices and tobacco so that smaller barges called ‘lighters’ could transport them up and down High Street.

奥鲍威尔和我来到维多利亚街和高街的街角,法斯特河曾经在这里汇入拉甘河。奥鲍威尔说这里曾经有个码头,大型轮船可以在这里卸货,比如酒、香料和烟草,然后小型驳船就把货物运到高街,也可以把高街上的货物运到大型轮船上。

“This whole area would have been filled with sailors importing and exporting goods on the banks – where High Street’s pavements now are,” Ó Baoill said as we passed Skipper Street, where captains once lived. “Over time, warehouses, inns and pubs sprouted up along the Farset to look after these sailors and travellers.”

我们走过船长曾住过的船长街(Skipper Street),奥鲍威尔说,“这一整片区域都有船员在岸边把货物搬上搬下,这里现在是高街的路面。久而久之,货栈、小旅馆和酒吧在法斯特河沿岸大量涌现,以便服务船员和旅客”。

One block away, Bridge Street gets its name from a small footbridge that once crossed the Farset to reach The Entries, a series of narrow alleyways off High Street where merchants lived.

一街之隔的桥街(Bridge Street)得名于一座小型人行桥,这座桥曾经横跨法斯特河,直达贝尔法斯特小巷(The Entries),这些狭窄的小巷离高街不远,曾经是商人的居所。

“These alleys served as jetties for seamen sailing up and down the Farset, and so a lot of the old pubs off High Street still have nautical names, like the Mermaid Inn,” said Jinny Joiner, a waitress at the 208-year-old The Morning Star bar and restaurant. “But now the river’s long gone.”

乔伊娜(Jinny Joiner)是一名服务员,她在有着208年历史的晨星(Morning Star)酒吧餐馆工作,她说,“这些小巷可以用作突堤,供船员在法斯特河上穿梭往返,所以很多高街附近老酒吧的名字都与航海有关,比如说美人鱼旅馆(Mermaid Inn)。不过这条河早就不见了”。

Or so it seems. According to Frankie Mallon, an engineer with the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) Rivers, in the 170 years since the Farset was sealed off, only two members of the public have been allowed to venture underground to see it. I’d be the third, provided I take some precautions and meet Mallon at a nondescript manhole cover where Belfast’s bustling Castle Junction hits High Street at exactly 17:21.

或者说这条河看上去已经不见了。马伦(Frankie Mallon)是河流基础设施部(Department for Infrastructure,简称DfI)的一名工程师,他说法斯特河与世隔绝的这170年间只有两名普通市民获准冒险到地下亲眼目睹过这条河。我会成为第三个,不过我必须做好安全防范措施。在高街熙熙攘攘的城堡公交站(Castle Junction)有个毫不起眼的井盖板,傍晚5点21分,我和马伦在这里见面。

“It’s a dangerous area,” Mallon said, passing me a jumpsuit, hard hat and Wellington boots, and strapping a 10kg oxygen tank around my shoulders. “Hazardous gases, possibly sewer breach, corrosive liquids. There’s a reason we don’t take people down.”

“这片区域很危险”,马伦一边说,一边递给我一条连衫裤、一顶安全帽和一双雨靴,并把一个10公斤的氧气箱在我的肩膀上系好。“危险气体、可能出现的下水道缺口、腐蚀性液体。我们不带人下来是有原因的”。

As a crowd of curious bystanders looked on, members of the Rivers Agency unearthed a heavy metal grate from the pavement and slid a ladder into Belfast’s cavernous underbelly. After a quick glance at his watch, Mallon told me we needed to move now to hit low tide, so I clenched my notepad between my teeth and slowly descended into the dark, damp domain.

一群好奇的旁观者看着河流署(Rivers Agency)成员从路面上取出一块重型金属栅格,然后把一个梯子向下滑进贝尔法斯特空荡深邃的地下世界。马伦迅速瞥了一眼手表,告诉我,要赶上退潮的话现在就得出发了,于是我用牙齿咬住笔记本,慢慢下到这个阴暗潮湿的地方。

“The smell’s long gone,” Mallon said, shining his torch through a circular, 2m-wide pitch-black abyss winding underneath High Street. “But in the 18th Century, this was an absolute cesspit.”

马伦点燃火把,照亮这个沥青黑2米宽的圆形深洞,这个深洞就在高街的地底蜿蜒蛇行。他说,“这里的气味早就没有了,但在18世纪这里却是个彻头彻尾的污水坑”。

At low tide, the Farset was much more trickle than torrent, with cold, fresh water flowing through the culvert towards the Lagan 500m away. At high tide, Mallon said some 63,000 litres of water from the Lagan would be gushing back through the conduit, reaching the top of the tunnel, a mere 0.6m below High Street.

退潮后的法斯特河不再水流湍急,而更像涓涓细流,冰冷清澈的河水经过涵洞流向500米外的拉甘河。马伦说涨潮时大约有63000升拉甘河的水会通过管道迅速回流,水位达到地道顶端,距离高街仅有0.6米。

As we slowly sloshed through the subterranean passage, the world above was eerily silent. Mallon explained that the Victorian-style, tapered-brick vault is reinforced by two walls built 0.5m thick and topped with wedged timber that’s holding the modern city above it. “It was a complicated process in the 1800s, and it’s still in amazingly good condition – except for one part,” Mallon said, motioning up at a crack where water was rushing in from a broken pipe overhead.

我们慢慢趟过地下河段,地上的世界显得异常安静。马伦告诉我,这个拱顶用维多利亚时代的风格建造而成,用锥形砖砌成,并且用两座墙做了加固,两座墙厚度为0.5米,墙顶塞有木料,用来支撑地上的这座现代化城市。马伦说,“这个过程在19世纪算是很复杂的,现在它仍然保存完好,令人惊叹。除了一个地方”。他说着,把手指向上面的一处裂缝,头顶上的一根管子破了,水从管子里面涌了出来。

After trudging some 200m underground, we turned and headed back towards the ladder and the light above. Mallon rubbed his gloves over the bricks, dyed black by centuries of industrial runoff, and explained that this water is what brought his ancestors to Belfast.

在地下费力地走了大约200米之后,我们开始折返,朝着梯子和地上的光线走去。马伦用手套擦了擦砖块,它们已被几个世纪以来的工业废水染黑。马伦说正是这条河把他的祖先带到了贝尔法斯特。

“Like so many others, my whole family came from various places in Ireland to work in the linen and cotton industries powered by the Farset,” he said, aiming his torch over the water’s dark depths. “This river has some stories to tell, but these days, we’re the only ones lucky enough to see it.”

"和很多人一样,我们全家人从爱尔兰不同的地方来到这里,从事亚麻和棉花产业,正是法斯特河为这些行业提供了动力,“他一边说,一边将火把靠近河水深处的阴暗地方。"这条河有很多故事,不过目前,我们是仅有的几个还能亲眼看到它的幸运儿”。

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