The Grand Canal
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