Suzhou Grand Canal

                                  The Grand Canal

        

The Grand Canal of China,also known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal,is the longest canal or artificial river in the world.Starting at Beijing,it passes through Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu(Suzhou) and Zhejiang to the city of Hangzhou. 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 1,776 km (1,103 miles). Its greatest height is reached in the mountains of Shandong, at a summit of 42 m (138 ft).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 canals 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).[4][5]

Historically, periodic flooding of the adjacent Yellow River threatened 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 Chinas urban centers through all the ages since the Sui period.

The Grand Canal in Suzhou, with wide surface, abundant and crystal clear water, has been the best part of the Grand Canal for shipping. The old canal is about 35km long from Hushu Pass to Wujiang City. On both sides of the bank, white walls and black tiles are dotted in the open green country. The 53-hole Belt Bridge first built in Tang Dynasty lies across the old canal like a rainbow floating on the wave. The ancient ferries, ancient towing tie paths, ancient bridges along the canal are all witnesses of the economic development of the area along the old canal.

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