The Grand Canal Guide

-Travel to The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal(also known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the longest canal or artificial river in the world and a famous tourist destination.Starting at Beijing, it passes through Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the city of Hangzhou, linking the Yellow River and Yangtze River. The oldest parts of the canal date back to the 5th century BC, although the various sections were finally combined during the Sui dynasty (581–618 AD).
The total length of the Grand Canal is roughly 1,770 km (1,114 miles). The Grand Canal is the oldest and longest man-made canal in China, and it is believed to be the longest in the world. Its greatest height is reached in the mountains of Shandong, at a summit of roughly 42 m . Ships in Chinese canals did not have trouble reaching higher elevations after the pound lock was invented in the 10th century (during the Song Dynasty). The canal's size and grandeur won it the admiration of many throughout history, including the Japanese monk Ennin (794–864), the Persian historian Rashid al-Din (1247–1318), and the Korean official Choe Bu (1454–1504).

Historically, periodic flooding of the adjacent Yellow Riverthreatened the safety and functioning of the canal. During wartime the high dikes of the Yellow River were sometimes deliberately broken in order to flood advancing enemy troops. This caused disaster and prolonged economic hardships. Despite temporary periods of desolation and disuse, the Grand Canal furthered an indigenous and growing economic market in China's urban centers since the Sui period. It has allowed faster trading and has improved China's economy. And in the long history, the Grand Canal has made enormous contribution to the communication between North China and South China in both economy and culture.

The ancient city of Suzhou was the paradise for all merchants owing to the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal; even to this day, about half of the volume of goods is transported by waterway through the Grand Canal. To boat on the ancient Grand Canal is absolutely one of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of typical ancient river towns in south region of Yangtze River. Along the way, there are 10 ancient city gates of Suzhou, more than 20 stone bridges in diverse styles of traditional designs, ancient river town dwellings and historical relics; and the gorgeous lighting adds more glamour to the night boating of the Grand Canal. In addition, during the journey, visitors can also learn the historical stories, local customs, and enjoy good food of local flavors when appreciating the surrounding landscapes.

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