The Grand Canal

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Wang Wei Edited by Justin Davis Pho­tos by Gao Wei, Zhao Meng and cour­tesy of the Pub­lic­ity De­part­ment of the CPC Bei­jing Tongzhou Dis­trict Com­mit­tee

Bei­jing is an an­cient cap­i­tal with many his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural her­itage sites. The Grand Canal is the sev­enth site in Bei­jing that has been in­scribed on the UNESCO World Her­itage List.

Bei­jing is an an­cient cap­i­tal with many his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural her­itage sites. The Grand Canal is the sev­enth site in Bei­jing that has been in­scribed on the UNESCO World Her­itage List. The sec­tion of the Grand Canal in Bei­jing is 82 kilo­me­tres long and runs through the Chang­ping, Haid­ian, Xicheng, Dongcheng, Chaoyang and Tongzhou dis­tricts. The canal served as an artery con­nect­ing North China with South China in the north­east­ern and cen­tral east­ern plains in an­cient China. Dur­ing the Ming (1368– 1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dy­nas­ties, it con­nected the im­pe­rial gar­dens lo­cated in north­west Bei­jing with its ur­ban cen­tre. It cur­rently con­nects Cen­tral Bei­jing with the ur­ban sub-cen­tre in Tongzhou Dis­trict.

The Grand Canal dates back to the 5th cen­tury BC. There are nu­mer­ous his­toric and cul­tural her­itage sites that are “bright pearls” along the canal. The Bai­fuquan ru­ins area in­cludes the well-known Longquan (“dragon spring”). Yuquan Hill fea­tures many springs that have cor­re­spond­ing ro­man­tic leg­ends. The Jishui­tan area wit­nessed the dredg­ing of the Tonghui River, which was car­ried out by hy­draulic ex­pert Guo Shou­jing (1231–1316), and the pros­per­ous Dadu (mean­ing “the great cap­i­tal,” a pre­vi­ous name of Bei­jing) dur­ing the Yuan Dy­nasty (1271–1368). The Wan­shou Tem­ple is known as a “mini For­bid­den City in west­ern Bei­jing.” The Ran­deng Pagoda, which was orig­i­nally cre­ated 1,400 years ago, is a land­mark of Tongzhou. Zhangji­awan boasts the Grand Canal's first wharf. These at­trac­tions wit­nessed the city's tremen­dous changes and are part of many im­por­tant sto­ries through­out the gen­er­a­tions. The his­tory of the canal is closely re­lated to Bei­jing's de­vel­op­men­tal his­tory in gen­eral.

1. The Five Pagoda Tem­ple in Haid­ian Dis­trict2. An as­tro­nom­i­cal in­stru­ment at Huitongci in Xicheng Dis­trict3. A wharf along the Grand Canal in Tongzhou Dis­trict

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