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Grand Canal

Grand Canal

The full name of the Grand Canal is Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal which start from Beijing, running through provinces from north to south, and ending in Hangzhou. It is 1,770 kilometers long in total. The Grand Canal is the longest and oldest man-made canal in the world. It was first constructed in the Spring and Autumn Period and most parts were finished in the Sui Dynasty.

It links five major rivers, including: the Hai River, Yellow River, Yangtze River, Huai River and Qiantang River, which all run from east to west. By connecting them, it provides a north-south transport route. In ancient times, many grains were transported from the south to the north. The benefit of the Grand Canal is not only in that it offers a convenient transportation system, but also the prosperity it has brought to the towns and cities along its course. The section from Suzhou to Hangzhou is still in active use today, with vendors rowing their boats directly to homes along the canal.

The section of the Grand Canal which flows through Suzhou is about 81 kilometers. Most tourists like to take a small cruise on the canal to enjoy the scenery of Suzhou. It offers tourists a view of China’s typical waterside homes and arched stone bridges along the riverside.