Apart from the world-famous great wall, there is another famous great wall in China, which is considered as the great wall on the water. It is the Grand Canal from Beijing to Hangzhou. Great Wall of China across the northern China, exactly from the northeast China to the northwest China, anciently played the important role of defense and protection for the social security. It used to be a military project for guaranteeing the development of economy and society. But today, it is nonfunctional to military defense but a historic and cultural relic to review the past of China. While the Grand Canal is still alive, and always shows its great importance to the development of China; From Beijing to Hangzhou, The Grand Canal goes across China from north to south, and connects the northern economy with southern development, and has tremendously promoted the development of economy since Sui and Tang Dynasties. It is an important site of cultural and historic heritage in China. Today, a national themed museum named China Grand Canal Museum has been built in Hangzhou.
The Basic Information of Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal
Grand Canal of China(中国大运河) with a full name of Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal(京杭大运河), and generally called Grand Canal for short, is the longest and oldest ancient artificial canal in the world, with a total length of 1794 kilometers. It has 16 times longer than Suez Canal, and 33 times longer than Panama Canal. Staring from Beijing in the north to Hangzhou in the south, it crosses Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei province(Shijiazhuang as the capital), Shandong province(Jinan as the capital), Jiangsu province(Nanjing as the capital) and Zhejiang province(Hangzhou as the capital), and finally makes Hai River(海河), Yellow River(黄河), Huai River(淮河) and Yangtze River(长江) and Qiantang River(钱 塘江) in connections. Due to the long-time disrepair, currently, it just has a traffic mileage of 1442 kilometers, and all-year opened section is only 877 kilometers, generally on the south of Yellow River. Grand Canal does a great contribution to the south-north economic balancing, development and interaction, as well as the cultural and political integration, especially largely promotes the industrial and agricultural development on both sides. Together with Great Wall(长城) and Kariz(坎儿井, a popularized and traditional water conservancy and irrigation system in northwest China, mainly in Xinjiang Autonomous Region), it is one of three greatest ancient projects of China.
In ancient times, the land transportation mainly replied on the manpower and animal power, the slower speed, the less capacity, and the higher consumption really bad for the large and long-distance transportation on the land. Therefore, much large transportation depended on the waterway. Generally, the large rivers generally extended from west to east. But, in history, the area of Yellow River was always in warfare, and the waterways were broken or ruined. While, the relatively peaceful region of Yangtze River, the whole development got a vivid achievement, and Since Wei and Jin Dynasties, the economic center of China was moved to southern China when the political and military center was still in northern China. To guarantee the interconnection and the non-stop transportation of the taxes and materials from south to capitals, a North-South Waterway was scheduled to be opened. The officially opened period of Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal was reign of Emperor Yangdi in Sui Dynasty. It was traditionally regarded as the lifeline of China. In Ming and Qing Dynasties, a special governmental office comprised of many branches and sites, named Caoyun Zongdu(漕运总督, the governing office of the water transport of grains to the capital), was established in Huaian(淮安), Jiangsu province. Before the flourish of sea transportation and modern highway transportation, Grand Canal was the chief way to south-north transportation, and cargo traffic volume covers approximately 3/4 of all in China.
The Geography of Beijing- Hangzhou Grand Canal
The geographic areas that the Grand Canal flow through include Tongzhou District of Beijing, Wuqing District of Tianjin, Langfang, Cangzhou, Hengshui and Xingtai of Hebei province, Dezhou, Taian, Liaocheng, Jining and Zaozhuang of Shandong province, Xuzhou, Suqian, Huaian, Yangzhou, Zhenjiang, Changzhou, Wuxi and Suzhou of Jiangsu province, as well as Jiaxing, Huzhou and Hangzhou of Zhejiang province, roughly comprised of 20 cities of China. The area along the Grand Canal is one of the most richest and developed areas in China with a great industrial system. Yanzhou, Jining, Zaozhuang, Tengzhou, Feng County, Pei County, Xuzhou and Pizhou are all the important coal mining centers. Shanghai, Nanjing, Xuzhou, Zhenjiang, Changzhou, Wuxi, Suzhou, and Hangzhou are all the industrial cities of China.