- Gordon Dumoulin
China's ancient waterway, lifeline for unification in the past and future...
𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘢'𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘶𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦...
Park life in the early sunlight this morning
along the Jing-Hang (Beijing-Hangzhou) Grand Canal
in Tongzhou Canal park, Beijing.
Did you know that the 京杭大运河 (Jīng-Háng Dà Yùnhé) or Grand Canal is a #UNESCO World Heritage Site (2014) and the longest canal in the world ?
Starting in #Beijing, it passes through #Tianjin and the provinces of #Hebei, #Shandong, #Jiangsu, and #Zhejiang to the city of #Hangzhou, linking the Yellow River and Yangtze River with a length of 1,776km.
The oldest parts of the canal date back to the 5th century BC, but the various sections were first connected during the Sui dynasty (581–618 AD). Dynasties in 1271–1633 significantly restored and rebuilt the canal and altered its route to supply their capital. The Grand Canal played a huge role in reunifying north and south China.
In the late 1200s, Marco Polo traveled extensively through China and his included voyages on the Grand Canal, then a major artery for shipping silk, porcelain, and wine. In 1600, Matteo Ricci traveled to Beijing from Nanjing through the Grand Canal to seek support for his missionary works from the Wanli Emperor during the Ming dynasty.
Ships in the Grand Canal did not have trouble reaching different elevations in the canal after the pound lock was invented in the 10th century by Chinese government official and engineer Qiao Weiyue during the Song dynasty (960–1279).
The Grand Canal did not only pay tribute to unification in the past. World's largest water flow diversion project of its kind is currently under construction since the beginning of this century after decades of considerations and involves drawing water from the major southern Yellow and Yangtze rivers and supplying it to the north.
This ambitious, massive scheme, expected to complete by 2050 will divert 45 billion cubic meters of water annually from the south to ease growing water shortages in the cities of Beijing and Tianjin and the northern provinces of Hebei, Henan and Shandong.
Since the construction and restoration began early 2000's, water quality has as well significantly improved from the pollution caused in the 1980's and 1990's.