Hangzhou Grand Canal
China’s only waterway running from north to south is 1,747-kilometer-long Beijing-Hangzhou Canal.
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It is 10 times the length of the Suexz Canal (172.5 kilometers in length, constructed in 1869) and 20 times that of the Panama Canal (81.3 kilometers in length, built in 1914). Although the Grand Canal is not so imposing and famous as the Great Wall, it embodies the superb wisdom of the Chinese nation. It is a testimony of the history of China.
Dug more than 2,000 years ago, the Grand Canal has played an important role in China’s development. The Great Wall of China was built as a barrier to block the entry of northern nomads and armies into the Middle Kingdom, but the Grand Canal was dug to link the north and south of China politically and economically and culturally as well in ancient times.
Joining five rivers—the Haihe, the Yellow River, the Huaihe River, the Yangtze River and the Qiantang River—the Canal has long served as a means of transportation. The sections of the Canal in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces are still full of vitality. Vendors paddle their boats directly to households, shops and storehouses in local townships.
Located at the southern end of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the capital city of East China’s Zhejiang Province poured some 4 billion yuan (US $ 482 million) into cutting water pollution. With a total length of 1,747 kilometers making it the world’s longest, the famous Canal runs right through downtown Hangzhou, in its last passage of 18.1 kilometers.
Built around 605 to 610 in the Sui Dynasty, the Grand Canal is the longest man-made water channel in the world. Beginning in Beijing, it runs through the Tianjin Municipality, North China’s Hebei Province and East China’s Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang province, the Canal has been one of the most important transportation channels linking North and South China.
By 2005, with the completion of the extension project of the Great Canal, Hangzhou will be accessible to ships with a tonnage of 500 and below. The extension project will connect Hangzhou with the world famous seaport Ningbo by linking a couple of rivers and waterways, The extended section is 252 kilometers long.
Near Haining in East China’s Zhejiang Province is one of the magnificent and amazing sights of Nature in China. Scientists say the bell-shaped mouth of the Qiantang River near the city of Hangzhou helps form the not-to-be-missed “Haining Bore,” which has a crest as high as 4 meters. International bore-watching festivals have been held annually since 1994. During the festival tens of thousands of visitors go there to watch the spectacular view of the bore each year. In China there are four magnificent sights of Nature. The other three are a sea of clouds over Mount Huangshan 黄山云海 Anhui Province, the trees’ rime fog (soft rime) in Jilin Province 吉林雾淞, and the sunrise at Mount Tai 泰山日出.