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The Grand Canal–A Great Project Next to the Great Wall

The Grand Canal is in the north-south area of east China. China is the earliest country for constructing the canal in the world. As early as in the late years of the Spring and Aumlml Pcriod (around 485 B.C.), the Fangou Canal, a nlan made river, was dug in the present-day Yangzhou by the State of Wu to connect the Yangtze River and Huaihe River. It was 150 kilometers long and was the first canal in the world. From the first to the sixth year (605-610) of the Daye reign of the Sui Dynasty, a south-north grand canal was built through hard work with Luoyang, then the capital city, as the center. It was 2,700 kilometers long and was famous as the south north canal built by Emperor Tangdi of the Sui Dynasty. During the Yuan Dynasty ( 1271- 1368), the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal was built based on this south-north canal with Beijing as the center. This Grmad Caned passed through Tianjin, Hebei. Shandong, Jiangsu. and Zhejiang and is 1,794 kilometers long and is 30-70 meters wide. It is 16 times the length of the Suez Canal, or 33 times that of the Panama Canal. It connects the Haihe, Yellow. Huaihe, Yangtze and Qiantang rivers together. At present, the Beijing Hangzhou Grand Canal is opened to traffic for 1,442 kilometers including 877 kilometers opened year round. The main sections opened to traffic are concentrated in Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, in the southern areas of the Yellow river.

The construction of the Grand Canal has benefited the exchange of goods between the northern and southern areas and helped the political, economic and cultural developnlent of China, After the founding of New China in 1949, Chinese government has cartied large scale repairs of the Grand Canal on several occasions. Along the Grand Canal greal amounts of cultural and historical sites have been found and the canal itself is praised as a long corridor of ancient water cullure of China. Recently several museums on the Grand Canal have been established along the canal. Not as eye-catching as the Great Wall and Terra-cotta Warriors, this Grand Canal is still in use. Some itineraries have been developed in the sections of Hangzhou, Suzhou and Wuxi and are welcomed by Chinese and foreign tourists. The Grand Canal is as wonderful as the Great Wall and is a marvelous event in Chinese water conservancy construction and a wonder in the world.

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