[2] With the recorded labor of five million men and women under the supervision of Ma Shumou, the first major section of the Grand Canal was completed in the year 605—called the Bian Qu. [21] During the Song and earlier periods, barge ships occasionally crashed and wrecked along the Shanyang Yundao section of the Grand Canal while passing the double slipways, and more often than not those were then robbed of the tax grain by local bandits. THE GRAND UNION CANAL HISTORY The first step towards the creation of the Grand Union was taken in 1925, when the Grand Junction sought a report from the engineer of the Warwick canals on the cost of putting them in order. In Tianjin, the canal heads northwest, for a short time following the course of the Yongding, a tributary of the Hai River, before branching off toward Tongzhou on the edge of the municipality of Beijing. As well as its present-day course, fourteen centuries of canal-building have left the Grand Canal with a number of historical sections. "The Grand Canal of China is the world's oldest and longest canal, far surpassing the next two grand canals of the world: Suez and Panama Canal. The old summit section is now dry, while the new canal holds too little water to be navigable. Though one of the northernmost sections, its name derives from its position relative to Tianjin. The elevation of the canal bed varies from 1 m below sea level at Hangzhou to 38.5 m above at its summit. In 1169, with China divided between the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty in the north and the Southern Song dynasty in the south, the Southern Song Emperor Xiaozong sent a delegation to the Jurchen to wish their ruler well for the New Year. [30] Even the shipwrecked Korean Choe Bu (1454–1504)—while traveling for five months throughout China in 1488—acknowledged that Hangzhou served not as a competitor but as an economic feeder into the greater Suzhou market. Such a case occurred in the year 858 when an enormous flood along the Grand Canal inundated thousands of acres of farmland and killed tens of thousands of people in the North China Plain. [18] To ensure smooth travel of grain shipments, Transport Commissioner Liu Yan (in office from 763 to 779) had special river barge ships designed and constructed to fit the depths of each section of the entire canal.[19]. 'Capital–Hangzhou Grand Canal', or more commonly, as the「大運河」("Grand Canal")), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the longest canal or artificial river in the world. The reconstruction of the canal began in 2002, by 2007 it was partially navigable, and the renovation project finished in 2009, though the Ningbo section was not navigable until the end of 2013. He achieved this by joining two of these rivers' tributaries, the Si and the Ji respectively, at their closest point, across a low watershed of the Shandong massif. It is generally a minimum of 100 meters wide in the congested city centers, and often two or three times this width in the neighboring countryside. Yellow and Yangzi. From the Tang to Qing dynasties, the Grand Canal served as the main artery between northern and southern China and was essential for the transport of grain to Beijing. In the Qing dynasty, the Kangxi and Qianlong emperors made twelve trips to the south, on all occasions but one reaching Hangzhou. Designed by Antonio da Ponte in the late 16th century, the Rialto Bridge crosses the canal at roughly its halfway point. [38]. [12], The earlier dike-building project in 587 along the Yellow River—overseen by engineer Liang Rui—established canal lock gates to regulate water levels for the canal. Its greatest height is reached in the mountains of Shandong, at a summit of 42 m (138 ft). [31] It is known that 121,500 soldiers and officers were needed simply to operate the 11,775 government grain barges in the mid-15th century. Near the edge of Shandong at Jining there are locks to allow it to climb the foothills of Meng Shan. This ancient waterway was first constructed as early as the 4th century bce , was rebuilt in 607 ce , and has been used ever since. Between 1958 and 1964 it was straightened, widened, and dredged; one new section 40 miles (65 km) long was constructed, and modern locks were added. What a stupid question!!! He created a 1 670m long east-west perspective in the axis of the Palace by digging the canal. Eventually another stretch of canal, the Huitong Canal, was built to join Dong’e Zhen on the Huang He with the Wei River at Linqing. It was disused from 1932, but was not finally abandoned until 1964. The Grand Canal – the big canal that runs through the heart of Venice – is deeper, at an average of 5 metres, while the Canale della Giudecca – which separates the main part of Venice from the island of Giudecca – is around 12 to 17 metres deep. This ‘Inner Canal’ runs between the Yangtze and Huai'an in Jiangsu, skirting the Shaobo, Lake Gaoyou, and Hongze lakes of central Jiangsu. 1 decade ago. Most of the traffic of the city is filled with yachts, private boats, vaporetti, water taxis and gondolas are famous. Its great number of feeder springs (between two and four hundred, depending on the counting method and season of the year) also led to it being called the quanhe or 'river of springs'. The Huitong Canal, built by an engineer called Ma Zhizhen, ran across sharply sloping ground and the high concentration of locks gave it the nicknames chahe or zhahe, i.e. [22] This prompted Qiao Weiyue, an Assistant Commissioner of Transport for Huainan, to invent a double-gate system known as the pound lock in the year 984. It runs from north to south, from near Peking to Hangchou, intersecting the Huang Ho (Yellow), Huai, and Yangtze rivers. Many deaths, decline of dynasty. THE GRAND CANAL is one of the wonders of the world. In 1926, the Regents Canal Co. agreed to buy the Grand Junction Canal subject to them purchasing the Warwick Canals. Interesting Facts about the Grand Canal Historians estimate that the oldest section of the canal was built around the 6th century BC. In May 2013, the Eastern Zhejiang Canal was listed in the seventh group of Major Historical and Cultural Site Protected at the National Level and was included in the Grand Canal. Its course is today divided into seven sections. [12] The Grand Canal was fully completed under the second Sui emperor, from the years 604 to 609,[13] first by linking Luoyang to the Yangzhou (and the Yangtze valley), then expanding it to Hangzhou (south), and Beijing (north). The southern portion remains in heavy use to the present day. The government also planted an enormous line of trees. [20] Such an unfortunate event could reduce the legitimacy of a ruling dynasty by causing others to perceive it as having lost the Mandate of Heaven; this was a good reason for dynastic authorities to maintain a smooth and efficient canal system. [15] Besides being the headquarters for the government salt monopoly and the largest pre-modern industrial production center of the empire, Yangzhou was also the geographical midpoint along the north-south trade axis, and so became the major center for southern goods shipped north. Its west end is in Xixing Street, Binjiang District, Hangzhou City, crossing Cao'e River and Shaoxing City to its east end, the Yong River estuary in Ningbo City. After the An Shi Rebellion (755–763), the economy of northern China was greatly damaged and never recovered due to wars and to constant flooding of the Yellow River. The canal can now accommodate medium-sized barge traffic throughout its length. The Grand Canal was built to connect 1 See answer 05isamar51479 is waiting for your help. He largely built the so-called "Grand Cross" of canals which linked the four great river basins of Britain, the Severn, Mersey, Humber, and the Thames, the latter being reached from 1790 via the Oxford Canal, lengthy route to London from the north. The economic importance of the canal likely will continue. After the Taiping Rebellion (1850–64) and the Nian Rebellion (1853–68), the use of the canal as the major supply line to Beijing was abandoned, and the canal gradually fell into disrepair in its northern sections. [31], Besides its function as a grain shipment route and major vein of river-borne indigenous trade in China, the Grand Canal had long been a government-operated courier route as well. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. Tongzhou then became the northern shipping terminus of the canal. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. In 1566, to escape the problems caused by flooding of the Yellow River around Yutai (now on the western shore of Weishan Lake), the Nanyang New Canal was opened. 1 0. This section was bu… 607 CE. [23], Much of the Grand Canal south of the Yellow River was ruined for several years after 1128 when Du Chong decided to break the dykes and dams holding back the waters of the Yellow River in order to decimate the oncoming Jurchen invaders during the Jin–Song wars. It was fed by rivers flowing from east to west from the borders of the Shandong massif. Although it was mainly used for shipping grain, it also transported other commodities and the corridor along the canal developed into an important economic belt. It was begun in 1422 by a member of the Contarini family, and it is a mark of the high demand for real estate development on the Grand Canal that the Ca' d'Oro was built on the site of a teardown. Later in 1990s the canal was newly relined between Swans neck and Greenway bridge.The project was funded between … [42], In 1170, the poet, politician, and historian Lu You traveled along the Grand Canal from Shaoxing to the river Yangtze, recording his progress in a diary. The water level in the Jiangnan Canal remains scarcely above sea level (the Zhenjiang ridge is 12 meters higher than that of the Yangtze River). The total length of the Grand Canal is 1,776 km (1,104 mi). The Manchus invaded China in the mid-17th century, allowed through the northern passes by the Chinese general Wu Sangui once the Ming capital at Beijing had fallen into the hands of a rebel army. Peasants. It reappears again in Liaocheng City on the north bank where, intermittently flowing through a renovated stone channel, it reaches the city of Linqing on the Shandong – Hebei border. In the first period, canals were built to serve the heavy industry of the north and midlands. It was built to enable successive Chinese regimes to transport surplus grain from the agriculturally rich Yangtze (Chang) and Huai river valleys to feed the capital cities and large standing armies in northern China. The erection of the Grand Canal that goes from Beijing to … When was the start of the Grand Canal built? The Grand Canal is currently being upgraded to serve as the Eastern Route of the South-North Water Transfer Project. Grand Canal is an ancient aqueduct which is lined with buildings of approximately 170 buildings, mostly built in the 13th century until the 18th century, which was also largely built by a wealthy Venetian family. The fifth section of the canal extends for a distance of 524 kilometers (326 mi) from Linqing to Tianjin along the course of the canalized Wei River. Is China the most densely populated country on Earth? [29] The only other viable contender with Suzhou in the Jiangnan region was Hangzhou, but it was located 200 km (120 mi) further down the Grand Canal and away from the main delta. Its main role throughout its history was the transport of grain to the capital. [24] The Jurchen Jin dynasty continually battled with the Song in the region between the Huai River and the Yellow River; this warfare led to the dilapidation of the canal until the Mongols invaded in the 13th century AD and began necessary repairs. The Grand Canal is the masterpiece of Andre Le Notre, the gardener of Sun King and designer of Versailles Gardens. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, however, the water level in the Tonghui River dropped and ships could not travel from Tongzhou to Beijing. Its southern section, running between Hangzhou and the Yangtze, was named the Jiangnan River (the river ‘South of the Yangtze’). In 1855, the Yellow River flooded and changed its course, severing the course of the canal in Shandong. A scholar-official named Lou Yue, secretary to the delegation, recorded the journey, much of which was made upon the Grand Canal, and submitted his Diary of a Journey to the North to the emperor on his return. [12], Between 604 and 609, Emperor Yang Guang (or Sui Yangdi) of the Sui dynasty ordered several canals to be dug in a 'Y' shape, from Hangzhou in the south to terminate in (modern) Beijing and the capital region along the Yellow River valley. Named after the Jia River whose course it followed, it ran 140 kilometers (87 mi) from Xiazhen (modern Weishan) on the shore of Shandong's Weishan Lake to Suqian in Jiangsu. In recent years, because of newer modes of transportation, the canal has been gradually replaced. The governments of the Shandong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang Provinces planned dredging meant to increase shipping capacity by 40 percent by 2012. Even today, the Grand Canal has not fully recovered from this disaster. As in the Song and Jin era, the canal fell into disuse and dilapidation during the Yuan dynasty's decline. [11][12] The history of the canal's construction is handed down in the book Kaiheji ('Record of the Opening of the Canal'). While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. At Beijing, it reaches 27 m, fed by streams flowing downhill from the mountains to the west. Marco Polo recounted the Grand Canal's arched bridges as well as the warehouses and prosperous trade of its cities in the 13th century. In the Ming dynasty, official courier stations were placed at intervals of 35 to 45 km (22 to 28 mi). [11], By the year 600, there were major buildups of silt on the bottom of the Honggou canal, obstructing river barges whose drafts were too deep for its waters. Although the Tang dynasty (618–907) capital at Chang'an was the most thriving metropolis of China in its day, it was the city of Yangzhou—in proximity to the Grand Canal—that was the economic hub of the Tang era. In 1282–83 the decision was made to build a new canal from the Huang He—which since 1195 had changed its course southward and taken over the former mouth of the Huai below Huaiyin—to the Daqing River in northern Shandong province, which was dredged to give an outlet to the sea. [36][37] Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. [28] Between 1411 and 1415 a total of 165,000 laborers dredged the canal bed in Shandong and built new channels, embankments, and canal locks.[28]. The Grand Canal was built in the perspective of Versailles Palace by gardener Andre Lenotre. For an excellent examination of the house and its construction, see … The Grand Canal we see today was built section by section in different areas and dynasties before it was linked together by the Sui Dynasty (581-618). The majority of these buildings were built between the 13th and 18th century and most open directly onto the canal, making their fronts accessible only by boat. Test the density—or sparsity—of your knowledge of China in this quiz. It was there all the time, Venice is built entirely on water, it is built on a lagoon. It comprised six main sections: (1) a short canal from the outskirts of Beijing to Tongzhou, (2) a canalized river joining the Hai River to Tianjin and then joining the Wei River as far as Linqing, (3) a section in Shandong rising over comparatively high ground from Linqing to its highest point near Jining and then falling again to a point near Xuzhou, a difficult stretch using a series of dams, sluices, and locks supplied with water from a number of small rivers flowing off the Mount Tai massif and from the string of lakes southeast of Jining, (4) a stretch from Xuzhou that followed the southern course of the Huang He as far as Huaiyin, (5) a section from Huaiyin following the ancient Shanyang Canal south to Zhenjiang on the Yangtze, and (6) a section south of the Yangtze where the canal, there called the Jiangnan Yunhe, ran southeast and then southwest for some 200 miles (320 km) via Suzhou to Hangzhou. 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